Green light for peripheral arterial disease drug
NICE has approved the use of the vasodilator drug naftidrofuryl oxalate for people with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), in final guidance out today.
PAD is a condition in which there is a blockage or narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the legs and arms caused mainly by fatty deposits on the arterial walls.
In the UK, around 1 in 5 men and 1 in 8 women aged 50-75 years have PAD, with the condition more common with increasing age.
Intermittent claudication, a cramping pain felt in the calf, thigh or buttock caused by a lack of oxygen to the muscles because of poor blood supply, is a common symptom of PAD.
As well as having a detrimental impact on quality of life, intermittent claudication also indicates that there is an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, are the most important components in reducing the chance of developing PAD.
However, for some people the severe pain that is often associated with intermittent claudication means that their ability to engage in regular exercise, particularly walking, can be severely limited.
For these people, NICE recommends that naftidrofuryl oxalate be prescribed providing that vasodilator therapy is considered appropriate after taking into account other treatment options. Treatment should be started with the cheaper generic version of the drug.
Although it does not halt the progress of PAD, naftidrofuryl oxalate has been shown to be the most clinically and cost effective treatment option for people with the condition in terms of improving maximum walking distance.
Dr Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE, said: “We're pleased to recommend naftidrofuryl oxalate as an option for treating intermittent claudication, a condition that can have a significant impact on an individual's life, including loss of independence, employment and social activities.
“Naftidrofuryl oxalate is one of four drugs, often referred to as vasodilators, that NICE assessed as part of this appraisal. Vasodilators relax the smooth muscle in blood vessels, which causes the vessels to dilate and therefore increases blood supply to the muscles.
“The evidence considered by the Appraisal Committee showed that the others - cilostazol, pentoxifylline and inositol nicotinate - are not as clinically effective compared with placebo as naftidrofuryl oxalate. Only naftidrofuryl oxalate was shown to be a cost-effective treatment option.”
25 May 2011