The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence ( NICE ) has recommended the use of multiple sclerosis drug Alemtuzumab ( Lemtrada ).
Alemtuzumab has been described by experts as a revolutionary treatment for some people which could allow them to live their lives as they had before being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
NICE has appraised Alemtuzumab as a treatment for adults with relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic and disabling neurological condition that, as it progresses, can have a substantial negative impact on a person’s quality of life.
Currently available treatments for this type of multiple sclerosis are either oral daily tablets or injections given several times each week and can have unpleasant side effects.
Alemtuzumab is given intravenously once a year for two years. Taken in two courses, the first course is administered for five consecutive days, and the second course is administered for three consecutive days 12 months later. No further treatment is needed the rest of the time, although regular check-ups may be required.
Alemtuzumab does have some possible serious side effects associated with it, including kidney disease and thyroid problems, although clinical specialists say that these can be manageable when patients comply with monitoring requirements.
Evidence has shown that Alemtuzumab is more effective and less expensive than current similar treatments for those with severe relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
Alemtuzumab is an antibody that binds to cells of the immune system ( B and T cells ), causing their destruction. The way in which Alemtuzumab slows the decline of active relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis is not fully understood. ( Xagena )
Source: NICE, 2014