UK Health Agency Recommends Stelara for Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis

UK Health Agency Recommends Stelara for Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis
The U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of Stelara (ustekinumab) to treat patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis specifically in adults when conventional and biological therapies are ineffective or not tolerated. Stelara's developer, Janssen, anticipates that this recommendation may allow the treatment to be publicly available in England and Wales before the end of 2020. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a disorder characterized by immune system attack and inflammation of the rectum and colon. Many treatments are designed to moderate immune system activity and/or inflammation. However, for up to one-third of patients, treatments are not completely successful or lead to complications that may require surgery. Stelara is the first approved treatment for UC that targets the IL-12/IL-23 pathways, which are involved in the inflammatory response. IL-12/IL-23 have been shown to be elevated in patients with Crohn's disease, another form of inflammatory bowel disease. "Ulcerative colitis can have a devastating impact on the lives of those living with this long-term condition," James Lindsay, PhD, a consultant gastroenterologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, said in a press release. "Many patients do not respond to, or get side effects from, currently available therapies. Therefore, the recent NICE approval for ustekinumab as a novel therapy for patients that are not suited to currently available treatments is welcome.” NICE's recommendation indicates that Stelara should be used for UC patients who do not respond or cannot tolerate TNF-alpha inhibitors. "The impact of uncontrolled symptoms of ulcerative colitis can be devastating and debilitating," said Sarah Berry, health service project manager
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