The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) as a first-line oral treatment for people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of multiple sclerosis.
James Overell, consultant neurologist, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, says, “Scotland has the highest prevalence of multiple sclerosis in the world, with more than 10,000 people living with multiple sclerosis in the country. The availability of Tecfidera expands the range of options for people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and will be an attractive option both for newly diagnosed patients and for those patients previously treated with a self-injectable. It is great that Scotland is leading the way in multiple sclerosis care by approving this new treatment.”
Tecfidera has been clinically shown to significantly reduce important measures of disease activity, including relapses and the development of brain lesions, as well as to slow disability progression, while demonstrating a favourable safety and tolerability profile.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is expected to issue final guidance on Tecfidera for England and Wales summer 2014.
There is currently limited access to multiple sclerosis treatments in the UK, with a recent report on inequality of access to multiple sclerosis treatments showing that the UK ranks second to last of 15 European countries studied when it comes to access to treatments. Only 21% of all multiple sclerosis patients have access to a treatment, more than three times less than Germany, where the figure stands at 69%.