Cladribine: new oral treatment to be available for people with relapsing MS

A new oral treatment for relapsing MS, called cladribine, will be made available on the NHS in England and Wales within the next three months.

Decision makers in Scotland and Northern Ireland are still considering whether to make cladribine available on the NHS.

Cladribine (also known as Mavenclad) is the thirteenth treatment to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for relapsing MS. Unlike other oral treatments, which need to be taken every day, cladribine is taken as two courses of tablets, one year apart.

What does this mean for people with relapsing MS?

NICE’s decision to approve cladribine means the NHS has a legal obligation to provide this treatment to anyone with relapsing MS in England or Wales whose health care professional prescribes it to them.

Who can take it?

NICE has approved cladribine for people who have:

  • ‘Rapidly evolving severe’ MS (defined as at least two relapses in the previous year and an MRI scan showing new, or bigger, lesions).
  • Relapsing MS that has not responded to another disease modifying therapy (defined as one relapse in the previous year and new or bigger lesions on an MRI scan).

Progress continues

Our Director of External Affairs, Genevieve Edwards, says: “This is great news for people with relapsing MS. Just 20 years ago we didn’t have any treatment options – now there are thirteen available on our NHS. NICE’s decision is another important step forward and proves how much progress continues to be made.

“Cladribine offers people with more active MS a new oral therapy which can be taken in two courses, minimising disruption to their daily lives.”

When will there be therapies for progressive MS?

The first NICE appraisals for progressive MS could be published in 2018. For news and opportunities to contribute to the appraisal process follow us on Facebook and Twitter.