Blood cancer and rare muscle disorder drugs approved

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has accepted two new drugs to treat leukaemia and non-dystrophic myotonic disorders.

Blood cancer and rare muscle disorder drugs approved Getty Images

Drugs to treat a form of blood cancer and rare muscle disorders have been approved for use by the NHS in Scotland.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has accepted venetoclax (Venclyxto) for the treatment of certain patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

The incurable nature of the condition can be associated with anxiety and a reduction in quality of life, which may lead to mental health issues.

Venetoclax offers an additional treatment option with the benefit of progression-free survival.

Mexiletine (Namuscla) has been approved for the treatment of symptoms of muscle stiffness in patients with non-dystrophic myotonic (NDM) disorders.

NDM is a group of muscle disorders in which muscles are slow to relax after movement.

The drug could lessen the impact of symptoms and allow some patients to be independent, relieving the anxiety and distress associated with the condition.

SMC chairman Mark MacGregor said: “The committee is pleased to be able to accept these medicines for use by NHS Scotland.

“For those with CLL, venetoclax offers another treatment option which may enable patients to continue to take part in work and family life.

“In our PACE meeting, we heard how those with NDM disorders can struggle to carry out daily tasks, so we know our acceptance of mexiletine, the first licensed formulation of this medicine to specifically treat this condition, will be welcomed.”

Bempedoic acid (Nilemdo), a medicine that can be used to lower levels of cholesterol in the blood, was not accepted.

The SMC said the evidence provided by the company was not strong enough to satisfy the committee that it is a good use of NHS resources.

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