A new treatment which could “transform” the lives of patients with severe asthma is to be approved for NHS use.
Tezepelumab, which is known as a biologic medicine, could be offered to up to 60,000 people in England.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommended the new treatment, which is delivered via an injector pen every four weeks, in final draft guidance.
Nice recommended the use of the treatment – also known as Tezspire and made by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca – as an “additional maintenance treatment” for people over 12 with severe asthma.
Commenting on the news, Sarah Woolnough, chief executive at Asthma and Lung UK, said: “On behalf of people with severe asthma, we are delighted that Nice has recommended Tezepelumab for use on the NHS in England.
“This treatment has the potential to be a lifeline for a much broader population of people with severe asthma who are currently ineligible from accessing other, vital biologic treatments.
“Severe asthma is a debilitating condition, affects an estimated 200,000 people and doesn’t get better with usual asthma medicines.
“Too often people with severe asthma find themselves stuck in a never-ending cycle of life-threatening asthma attacks, emergency trips to hospital and regular doses of strong steroid tablets, which can be lifesaving but can also have serious side-effects like weight gain and osteoporosis.
“Tezepelumab has already been approved for use in the United States and only months ago was given the green light by the European Union.
“So, it’s good to see England follow suit and approve access to this new biologic treatment, which could transform the lives of people living with severe asthma.”
The injector pen can either be used at home or in a clinical setting.
It works by reducing a certain type of white blood cell to help decrease swelling and irritation of the airways to allow for easier breathing.
Nice said the drug may be offered to people whose condition is not controlled by high-dose inhaled anti-inflammatory medicine (corticosteroids) and another maintenance treatment.
It is also recommended for the treatment for people who have had three or more asthma attacks in the past year, or those who are having maintenance oral corticosteroids.