NICE approves golimumab for rheumatoid arthritis

Patients in England can now access golimumab for rheumatoid arthritis on the NHS, NICE has ruled, but only in limited circumstances.

Deformed fingers of the hands in an elderly female patient with rheumatoid arthritis (Photograph: SPL)
Deformed fingers of the hands in an elderly female patient with rheumatoid arthritis (Photograph: SPL)

The approval came in final guidance issued today by the institute.

It follows the decision in May to accept the drug for treating psoriatic arthritis, after NICE had provisionally rejected it in October 2010.

GPs will be able to prescribe golimumab (Simponi) in limited circumstances, typically when a patient’s condition has not responded to conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

But they must also fulfil a range of other criteria before the drug can be prescribed.

Dr Carole Longson, director of NICE’s Health Technology Evaluation Centre, said: ‘Rheumatoid arthritis treatments help to relieve pain, improve mobility and reduce the long-term damage often experienced by people with this condition.

'NICE has already recommended seven treatment options for patients living with this very disabling disease; now golimumab is another option.’

Click here to read the full guidance, including prescribing criteria

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