25 November 2015

NICE publishes final drug recommendations for the treatment of four separate medical conditions

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published its final recommendations on whether six different drug treatments should be routinely funded by the NHS.

Each piece of guidance looked at the cost-effectiveness of a particular drug to treat a specific medical condition. They cover major depressive disorder, hepatitis C, melanoma and psoriasis.

Vortioxetine for the treatment of major depressive disorder

NICE recommends vortioxetine be made available as a third-line treatment for major depressive episodes.
Vortioxetine (marketed as Brintellix by Lundbeck and Takeda) should be considered as a treatment option for adults whose condition has responded inadequately to two antidepressants within the current episode.

New options for hepatitis C

NICE recommends three new treatments for some adults with hepatitis C:

It is recommended that the decision to treat and prescribing decisions are made by multidisciplinary teams in the operational delivery networks put in place by NHS England, to prioritise treatment for people with the highest unmet clinical need.


Pembrolizumab for the treatment of melanoma

NICE recommends pembrolizumab (also called Keytruda and manufactured by Merck, Sharp & Dohme) as a treatment for some patients with advanced melanoma.  It is recommended as an option in adults:

  • for treating advanced melanoma that has not been previously treated with ipilimumab, and
  • when the company provides pembrolizumab with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme.

Apremilast for the treatment of Psoriasis

NICE does not recommend apremilast (also called Otezla and manufactured by Celgene) for treating some adults with moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis. 

People whose treatment with apremilast was funded by the NHS before this guidance was published should be able to continue treatment until they and their NHS clinician consider it appropriate to stop.

About NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system. We develop guidance, standards and information on high-quality health and social care. We also advise on ways to promote healthy living and prevent ill health.

Our aim is to help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, which are based on the most up-to-date evidence and provide value for money, in order to reduce inequalities and variation.

Our products and resources are produced for the NHS, local authorities, care providers, charities, and anyone who has a responsibility for commissioning or providing healthcare, public health or social care services.

To find out more about what we do, visit our website:www.nice.org.uk and follow us on Twitter: @NICEComms.