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11 November 2019
NHS Scotland adopts five new medicines

Image credit: Julien Behal/PA

NHS Scotland adopts five new medicines

Medicines to treat kidney and breast cancer are among five new treatments which have been accepted for use within NHS Scotland, by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

Ribociclib (Kisqali) for breast cancer treatment, lenvatinib (Kisplyx) for kidney cancer, pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron) for bladder pain syndrome, clostridium botulinum neurotoxin type A (Xeomin) to treat excessive drooling and imiquimod (Zyclara) for the treatment of actinic keratosis were all accepted for use in the NHS after SMC committee members heard a range of evidence on the medications.

SMC Chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said testimonies given by patient groups and clinicians showed “that those with advanced breast cancer value the opportunity to have additional time with family and friends”, and he hoped ribociclib would assist in this.

Ribociclib is targeted biological therapy, where a group of drugs is used to block the growth and spread of cancer. It is used to treat post-menopausal women living with the most common form of advanced breast cancer.

The SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process found the treatment could increase the time before the condition progresses, allowing patients valuable additional months in the context of limited overall survival time.

Lenvatinib is used to treat renal cell carcinoma, together with another cancer medicine called everolimus. PACE participants said lenvatinib offered a treatment option which could extend the period before the cancer returns and could also extend overall survival.

“Patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma have to cope with a significant symptom burden as well as coming to terms with their condition. Lenvatinib may provide them with valuable extra time before the disease relapses and for some patients may extend their overall survival time,” MacDonald said.

He said people who suffered from excessive drooling, due to neurological disorders including motor neurone disease, atazia and Parkinson’s, “may be able to better manage what can be an embarrassing and difficult complication of their condition” thanks to the adoption of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin type A.

However, the SMC also rejected an immunotherapy drug, known as atezolizumab. The medicine is used to treat patients with bladder of urinary cancer, or non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

MacDonald said SMC committee members “were unable to accept atezolizumab for the treatment of NSCLC as the company’s evidence around its benefits when compared to existing treatment options was not strong enough”.

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