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Zytiga, Ajovy among latest SMC decisions

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has released its latest round of medicines approved for use on NHS Scotland, approving drugs for prostate cancer, primary progressive multiple sclerosis, a rare form of lymphoma and migraine.

Leading the pack is Zytiga (abiraterone), a “highly innovative” drug which has already extended the lives of hundreds of thousands of men with prostate cancer around the world.

The SMC’s green light is for the treatment in combo with androgen deprivation (hormone) therapy, after it was considered through the organisation’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process, which is used for medicines to treat end of life and very rare conditions.

Zytiga can extend the amount of high quality time patients have before the cancer returns, and can also extend overall survival compared to the use of hormone therapy alone.

“Through our PACE process, we heard how the symptoms of metastatic prostate cancer get worse as the disease progresses, placing a heavy burden on patients and carers who are already dealing with the knowledge that the condition is life limiting” explained SMC chairman Dr Alan MacDonald.

He went on to say the “decision on abiraterone acetate means there is now a further treatment option for patients and an alternative to early chemotherapy, which can help extend the amount of high quality time patients have. “

The decision maker also accepted Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) through the PACE process, for patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis. The decision is great news for sufferers as there are currently no treatment options for the disorder, and Ocrevus can slow the worsening of disability, allowing patients to stay active, remain in work and continue with family and caring responsibilities for longer.

Next up, the group decided to give a positive opinion to Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) for advanced cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The drug has the potential to reduce the burden of disease symptoms, which is fantastic news for patients as people with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma usually live with their condition for many years, and experience symptoms flaring up from time to time.

The drug “offers a valuable treatment option for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma who have had a limited response to other treatments and for some may act as a bridge to potentially curative stem cell transplant,” according to Dr Alan.

Finally, the group made the “welcome” decision to accept Ajovy (fremanezumab) for the prevention of migraine in certain adults. The drug has been recommended for those who have at least four migraine days per month, and for whom multiple preventative treatments have previously not worked. The drug may reduce the number of days patients suffer migraines and has the potential to improve quality of life, according to evidence gathered by patient groups.

Dr Alan confirmed that the committee is “pleased” to unveil the new accepted medicines.