‘Life-changing’ MS medicine approved for use in Scotland

Fampridine can help improve walking in adults living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

A potentially life-changing medicine to help multiple sclerosis (MS) patients improve their walking and one offering another treatment option for type 2 diabetics have been approved for use in Scotland.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has also approved medicines for the treatment of moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis and for the treatment of constipation caused by opioid painkillers such as morphine.

The MS Society Scotland welcomed Fampridine (Fampyra), which can help improve walking in adults with MS, being accepted.

MS is a lifelong, progressive neurological condition affecting the central nervous system.

The SMC said patient group submissions highlighted there were no medical treatment options for patients who experience walking disability.

The MS Society Scotland said Fampridine helps about one in three people who take it and can speed up walking by about 25%.

Charity director Morna Simpkins said: “It’s fantastic that Fampridine (Fampyra) has been approved for use on the NHS in Scotland.

“MS is relentless, painful and disabling but this treatment could be life-changing for many people living with the symptoms of MS – making an important difference to walking, energy levels and a person’s ability to manage MS.”

Nina Campbell, 56, from the Highlands has been living with MS for 25 years and has seen positive changes from taking Fampridine.

She started taking the treatment in 2016 and said it has benefited her so much she did not have to use her wheelchair at her daughter’s wedding in May 2019.

She said: “It still takes a bit more time and I need to think and plan ahead for most activities but I’m now able to walk further for longer.

“One of the most fantastic things was on my daughter’s wedding day, I didn’t have to use my wheelchair at all – which I had fully expected to – and Fampyra definitely played a role in that.

“Even when the dancing started I was still standing.

“A treatment like this is invaluable and so positive, the more people who want to and can access it, the better.”

Insulin glargine/lixisenatide (Suliqua) has been accepted for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

It is used with another diabetes medicine, metformin, when blood glucose (sugar) levels are not satisfactorily controlled with metformin and insulin and offers another treatment option to control blood glucose levels for people with type 2 diabetes.

SMC chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said: “The committee is pleased to be able to accept these four new medicines.

“For people with MS who experience walking disability, being able to access a medicine that can improve this even to a limited degree is of benefit, and we know our decision on fampridine will be welcomed.

“Our decision on insulin glargine provides another treatment option for those with type 2 diabetes.”

The SMC has also accepted Ustekinumab (Stelara) for the treatment of moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis, a disease that causes inflammation of the gut.

Patients with this condition can experience frequent diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fatigue, which can affect their ability to work and socialise.

Ustekinumab offers another treatment option and may help some patients to delay or avoid the need for surgery.

Naldemedine (Rizmoic) has been accepted for the treatment of constipation caused by opioid painkillers, offering another option for patients who have not responded to laxatives.

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