The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), England’s health technology assessment body, has approved ustekinumab (Stelara; Janssen) as a treatment for patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease who have had little or no response, or an intolerance, to existing therapies.
Ustekinumab is a human monoclonal antibody treatment that works by binding to specific proteins on cells, called interleukin-21 (IL-21) and IL-23, to stop the production of cytokines that trigger the inflammatory response in the body. It has already been recommended by NICE as a treatment for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and evidence now shows that it can improve the quality of life among patients with Crohn’s.
“Crohn’s disease can have a debilitating impact on a person’s quality of life, from self-esteem through to experiencing regular relapses,” says Carole Longson, director of the health technology evaluation centre at NICE.
“Ustekinumab provides a convenient and viable option for patients with Crohn’s. It is a new way of treating the disease compared with conventional treatment, and can be used where other options have already been tried and stopped working.”
The final draft of the NICE guidance is now under consultation and will be open for appeal until 30 June 2017. If published, the NHS will then be expected to provide the medication within three months.