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Extavia Recommended To Be The Only Therapy for MS with Relapses That Britain Should Cover

January 11, 2018

Extavia has been recommended by a British board that recommends what treatments the National Health Service should cover. They have advised the system to only use Extavia (interferon beta 1b) as a treatment for MS patients who continue to have relapses.

The main reason for this preliminary decision made by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) was focused around cost. This will apply to both relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive MS patients. There are five other therapies that are just as effective as Extavia although they are more expensive, according to NICE.

These therapies included Copaxone and four beta interferon therapies besides Extavia, which were Avonex, Betaferon, Plegridy and Rebif. The good news is that the organization is not calling for the National Health Service to deny these treatments to those already using them. NICE said that patients already on Copaxone, Avonex, Betaferon, Plegridy or Rebif should continue taking them.

It also stated that its endorsement of Extavia does not affect other MS therapies such as Aubagio, Tecfidera, Gilenya, Mavenclad, Zinbryta, Tysabri and Lemtrada. The decision made was based on the cost effectiveness of the six therapies being considered and Extavia was the least expensive; all therapies were equally as effective at reducing relapsing and slowing the progression of MS.

On the other hand, MS advocacy organizations were not so thrilled with the preliminary recommendations, as they said it would be limiting to patients’ choice in therapy. Final recommendations are to be seen in the spring.

The U.K. MS Trust said they were disappointed with the decision as they strongly believe all current treatments should be available as a treatment for patients that are eligible to receive them. They also said the preliminary recommendations fail to address issues such as how healthcare professionals administer different drugs, how each drug matches different lifestyles of those with MS and how side effects of each drug can affect patients differently.

The institution will be meeting again on March 6th to review the comments it has received and discussions it has had with the drugs’ manufacturers. From there, final decisions will be made.