AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Rinvoq approved for NHS Scotland

pharmafile | February 9, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production AbbVie, rheumatoid arthritis 

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug Rinvoq (upadacitinib) for use on the NHS in Scotland.

Upadacitinib, a janus kinase inhibitor (JAKi), is a once-daily oral therapy for people with previously treated severe active RA.

The SMC’s decision means people in Scotland with severe RA may now benefit from upadacitinib with or without methotrexate (MTX) monotherapy. Upadacitinib combined with MTX is the only JAKi to consistently demonstrate improved rates of remission compared to the current standard of care, adalimumab with MTX, across multiple remission measures with significance maintained over time.

In its guidance, the SMC recommends upadacitinib as monotherapy or in combination with MTX for people with severe active RA, where their disease has not responded to intensive therapy with a combination of conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and in patients with severe disease inadequately controlled by a TNF antagonist in whom rituximab is not appropriate. The publication of the guidance means patients are now able to access upadacitinib without delay through NHS Scotland.

There are around 44,000 people in Scotland living with RA, a progressive autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and stiffness. Although there is no cure, advances in treatment have made clinical remission possible for more people living with the disease. Being in remission reduces disability and improves quality of life, but is currently only achieved for an estimated 26% of patients in the UK.

Clare Jacklin, Chief Executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), said:

“NRAS welcomes the news that upadacitinib has been approved for treating people living with severe RA in Scotland. RA is a complex auto-immune condition which can affect people in different ways.

“It is important that physicians have an array of medications available to enable them to tailor treatment to an individual patient’s disease type and needs to ensure the best care possible is being delivered. Given this, it is essential for continued investment in research and innovative medicines for RA.”

Belinda Byrne, Medical Director at AbbVie UK, commented: “AbbVie is pleased by the positive decision given by the SMC for treatment with upadacitinib for people living with severe active RA in Scotland.

“AbbVie is committed to improving treatment options for those living with RA. The recommendation means those with severe active RA in Scotland who have already tried multiple treatment options which have failed will have a new option, which can be taken both in combination with other drugs and as a monotherapy.”

Darcy Jimenez

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