2 The technology

2 The technology

Description of the technology

Mepolizumab (Nucala, GlaxoSmithKline) is an anti-interleukin‑5 humanised monoclonal antibody that reduces circulating eosinophils, which are involved in allergic response and tissue inflammation.

Marketing authorisation

Mepolizumab has a marketing authorisation in the UK as an 'add-on treatment for severe refractory eosinophilic asthma in adult patients'.

Adverse reactions

Headache is a very common adverse reaction. Common adverse reactions are lower respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, pharyngitis, hypersensitivity reactions, nasal congestion, upper abdominal pain, eczema, back pain, administration-related reactions, local injection site reaction and pyrexia. For full details of adverse reactions and contraindications, see the summary of product characteristics.

Recommended dose and schedule

The recommended dose of mepolizumab is 100 mg administered subcutaneously once every 4 weeks. It is intended for long-term treatment, but the summary of product characteristics states that 'the need for continued therapy should be considered at least on an annual basis as determined by physician assessment of the patient's disease severity and level of control of exacerbations'.

Price

The list price of mepolizumab is £840 per dose (excluding VAT; company submission). The company has agreed a patient access scheme with the Department of Health. The Department of Health considered that this patient access scheme does not constitute an excessive administrative burden on the NHS.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)