Following today’s formal publication of guidance from NICE, Ocrevus for early, inflammatory primary progressive MS will start to be available on the NHS in England from mid-September.
- have had symptoms of primary progressive MS for 15 years or less and
- are able to walk 20 metres or more, with or without walking aids (up to EDSS 6.5) and
- have signs of MS activity on MRI scans
Draft final guidance for Ocrevus was published in May. There have been no appeals against this decision and NICE has now published full guidance and additional resources.
Ocrevus should be available on the NHS within three months of publication of this final guidance, so neurologists should be able to prescribe it from mid-September 2019.
This decision applies initially to England, but drug manufacturer Roche is working with the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland and the Scottish Medicines Consortium to make Ocrevus available throughout the UK.
How will I be able to access Ocrevus?
The first step is to contact your MS team and ask how they will be assessing people with PPMS for starting treatment with Ocrevus. If you have an annual appointment with your neurologist, this would be a good opportunity to ask for more information. If you are no longer in contact with a neurologist, you should ask your GP to refer you to the nearest MS team. You can find your nearest MS team on the MS Trust website - the map of MS services shows hospitals with MS services. Alternatively, call our enquiry service on Freephone 0800 032 3839.
Ocrevus is the first treatment to be approved for NHS treatment of primary progressive MS. People with this form of MS experience disability more rapidly than those with other types. Clinical trials have shown that Ocrevus can slow the worsening of disability in early, inflammatory PPMS, with the potential to delay the need for a wheelchair by seven years.
Ocrevus is taken as an intravenous infusion (drip). The first dose is given as two separate infusions, two weeks apart. Further doses are given as one infusion every six months. The most common side effects include infusion-related reactions such as headache, rashes, fever and nausea. Other side effects include infections such as coughs, colds, chest infections and herpes virus infections (such as cold sores or shingles).
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