SMC has recommended that ozanimod can be prescribed for people with relapsing remitting MS who are having relapses or have MRI evidence of MS activity and who prefer, or find it easier, to take medicine as a tablet.
This is excellent news. The approval of Zeposia in Scotland increases the choices for people with relapsing MS, particularly those who prefer taking a tablet. An expanding range of drugs that work in different ways and have different benefits and risks means more people can find the treatment that is best for them.
- David Martin, Chief Executive Officer, MS Trust
NICE has also been reviewing ozanimod for NHS use in England and Wales. Their preliminary decision, published on 22 January, did not recommend ozanimod as a treatment for relapsing remitting MS. NICE has asked the manufacturer for more detailed evidence and further analyses of the data. The MS Trust will also be replying to NICE’s initial decision. If you wish to comment on the draft recommendation, you can do so through the NICE website by 5pm, 12 February. NICE will review the comments received and expects to publish its final decision later this year.
Ozanimod is taken as a tablet, once daily. A low dose is taken initially which is gradually increased over the first week. This reduces the risk of slowing the heart rate.
In a two year clinical trial, ozanimod reduced the risk of relapses by 38% compared to beta interferon (Avonex) and reduced the number of new active lesions seen on MRI. There was no significant difference in disability progression between ozanimod and Avonex.
The most common side effects reported in clinical trials were nasopharyngitis (common cold), reduced white blood cell count, headache, chest infections and urinary tract infections. Ozanimod caused temporary increases in liver enzymes which generally returned to normal levels without the need to stop treatment.
Ozanimod belongs to the same class of drugs as Gilenya (fingolimod). It works by retaining lymphocytes (immune cells) in lymph nodes. The number of lymphocytes reaching the brain is decreased, which reduces the immune attack on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
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