RoActemra® (tocilizumab) now available for most severe form of juvenile arthritis

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has issued positive final guidance for RoActemra, the UK’s first specifically licensed, effective biologic treatment for systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA).

This decision offers a much needed hope for the children in Scotland who are affected by this disease. The features of which can make everyday tasks, such as walking and playing, extremely painful and challenging. This treatment option was recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) in December 2011 for use in England as a treatment for SJIA.

In clinical trials, RoActemra improved symptoms by 90% in approximately two-thirds of patients and the medicine could help alleviate the suffering of up to 2,500 childrenin Britain currently affected by the disease.

Consultant Paediatric Rheumatologist Dr Jo Walsh speaking on behalf of The Scottish Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology Network (SPARN) states "SPARN is delighted that RoActemra now has SMC approval. Children and young people affected by SJIA are some of the sickest children we care for and their management can be challenging. Current treatments are not always effective and this can lead to uncontrolled disease. The addition of this effective and well tolerated treatment is good news for patients and their families. The ability to target biologic treatment against IL-6 which is key in the pathogenesis of SJIA is critical."

"SPARN supports local delivery of care where possible through a network of services with locally based specialist multidisciplinary teams working in partnership with expert teams from the tertiary centres. It works closely with Scottish Network for Arthritis in Children (SNAC). SMC approval of RoActemra will now enable equitable access for this effective treatment for children and young people affected by SJIA across Scotland who have not responded to standard treatment."
Tracy Rendall, Chairperson for the Scottish Network for Arthritis in Children (SNAC) comments, "We welcome the news that RoActemra is now licensed for use in children with SJIA in Scotland. As a charity whose sole aim is to improve the lives of children with arthritis and their families, we are all too aware of the difficulties children with systemic disease can have. We firmly believe this positive decision gives the opportunity for children with SJIA to access this treatment with its potential real benefits."
Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) comments: "Today’s advice from the SMC on RoActemra means that young patients in Scotland now have the same access to an effective treatment option as for patients in England and Wales. We welcome this positive news for children with SJIA and their families. This new SMC guidance for RoActemra will mean healthcare professionals can offer their young patients an effective and important treatment option in this setting, providing hope for all involved."

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