What has NICE said?

What has NICE said?

Mepolizumab (Nucala) is recommended as a possible additional treatment for adults with severe refractory eosinophilic asthma if all of the following apply:

  • the number of eosinophils in their blood has been high in the last 12 months (300 cells/microlitre or more) and

  • they have agreed to and followed their treatment plan but:

    • their asthma worsened and they needed systemic corticosteroids (that is, taken by mouth or given by injection) at least 4 times in the last 12 months or

    • they have had oral corticosteroids (taken by mouth) continuously over the last 6 months.

Mepolizumab can be continued after 12 months only if it is working well enough.

What does this mean for me?

If you have severe refractory eosinophilic asthma, and your doctor thinks that mepolizumab is the right treatment, you should be able to have it on the NHS.

Mepolizumab should be available on the NHS within 3 months.

If you are not eligible for treatment as described above, you should be able to continue taking mepolizumab until you and your doctor decide it is the right time to stop.

The condition and the treatment

Asthma causes the airways to narrow, resulting in breathing difficulties, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness. These symptoms get worse during an 'asthma attack'. People with severe refractory asthma have symptoms that do not get better even when they take their usual medicines regularly and correctly. In eosinophilic asthma, there are increased eosinophils in the airways. These are a type of white blood cell involved in inflammation.

Mepolizumab reduces the number of eosinophils in the blood. It is used with other treatments to help reduce the number of asthma attacks and the amount of oral corticosteroid drugs needed to control the asthma.

NHS Choices may be a good place to find out more.

These organisations can give you advice and support:

NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by these organisations.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2279-6

  • Information Standard