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May 2017 decisions news release

Three new medicines for routine use by NHSScotland.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has today (Monday 8 May) published advice accepting three new medicines for routine use by NHS Scotland.

Idebenone (Raxone) was accepted following consideration through SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process, for medicines used at the end of life and for very rare conditions. Idebenone is used to treat Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a severely disabling and extremely rare genetic disease of the eye which can cause sudden blindness. In the PACE meeting, patient groups and clinicians highlighted how LHON mainly affects young men in their late teens or early adulthood and that dealing with the condition can have a high psychological impact on patients and their families.  There are currently no other treatment options for LHON. Idebenone offers the potential for improvement of sight in a proportion of patients with this condition who are not yet blind.

Belimumab (Benlysta) was accepted for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks a person's body causing inflammation and organ damage which can result in life-threatening complications for some patients.  Patient group submissions highlighted that the most challenging aspects of living with the condition were the symptoms patients experience, including fatigue, joint and muscle pain in addition to a loss of independence. Belimumab offers an improvement in control of the disease in patients who fail to respond to standard treatments, with the potential to reduce symptoms. 

Also accepted was micronised progesterone (Utrogestan), which can be used to support embryo implantation and pregnancy as part of fertility treatment. 

Dr Alan MacDonald, chairman of the SMC, said:

“The Committee is pleased to be able to accept these three medicines for routine use.

“Through the evidence given at our PACE meeting by patient groups and clinicians we know that our decision on idebenone will be welcomed. This is the first medicine to treat LHON, and its availability will be of value to those who develop this devastating hereditary condition.

“For patients with SLE, belimumab offers the potential to improve control of the disease and reduce some of the challenging symptoms they experience. 

“Micronised progesterone offers an additional option for use in treating infertility.”