Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Simponi (golimumab) Gets Provisional Approval By NICE, UK

Rheumatoid arthritis patients who have not responded well to previous treatment will be eligible for National Health Service (NHS) funded treatment with Simponi combined with methotrexate, NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) announced. NICE decides which drugs and therapies can be included in the NHS.

Simponi, to be administered alongside methotrexate is now provisionally recommended for adult patients whose rheumatoid arthritis symptoms did not respond well to conventional DMARDS (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), including methotrexate.

In a communiqué, NICE wrote:

"In this case, golimumab is an option if it is used as described for other tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor treatments - adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab - covered by NICE technology appraisal 130, and the manufacturer provides the 100 mg dose of golimumab at the same cost as the 50 mg dose."

For adults whose symptoms did not respond adequately to other DMARDs, such as a TNF inhibitor, NICE also provisionally recommends golimumab combined with methotrexate as a treatment option.

NICE added:

"In this situation golimumab can be used only as described for other TNF inhibitor treatments in NICE technology appraisal guidance 195 (which covers the use of adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab, rituximab and abatacept after the failure of a TNF inhibitor), and the manufacturer provides the 100 mg dose of golimumab at the same cost as the 50 mg dose."

NICE stresses it has not yet issued final guidance to the NHS. Until this occurs, NHS bodies will have to decide locally whether to fund such treatments.

Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE, Dr Carole Longson, said:

"This draft guidance sets out the circumstances where golimumab could be a treatment option for people with rheumatoid arthritis for whom previous treatments have not worked. Finding ways to relieve pain, improve mobility and reduce long-term damage are the aims in treating rheumatoid arthritis. NICE has already recommended seven biological treatment options for patients living with this very disabling disease; these provisional recommendations indicate that golimumab could be another option."