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Ozanimod recommended for use on NHS Scotland

Ozanimod (brand name Zeposia) has been given the green light by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for people with active relapsing remitting MS.

Scotland is the first nation in the UK to approve ozanimod. In January, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provisionally decided not to recommend the drug for use in England and Wales. This decision is being reviewed by NICE and could change. We expect the final decision in the coming months.

What is ozanimod?

Ozanimod is a disease modifying therapy (DMT) that’s taken as a tablet. It’s licensed for people with relapsing MS who have active disease. ‘Active’ means you’re having relapses or MRI scans of your brain or spinal cord show new or growing lesions.

Ozanmiod is thought to act by trapping certain immune cells (called T cells) in the body’s lymph nodes. This means the cells can’t enter the brain and spinal cord, preventing them from attacking and damaging the myelin coating around nerve cells which leads to MS symptoms.

It reduces relapses by around 38% compared to beta interferon, an existing MS treatment. As a tablet, ozanimod provides an option for people who find injectable therapies difficult to administer, widening the choice of effective treatments for people with MS in Scotland.

Ozanimod’s approval means there are now 15 disease modifying therapies available on the NHS in Scotland.

Rest of the UK must follow

Our Scotland director, Morna Simpkins, said: “It’s very welcome that ozanimod has been approved for use on the NHS in Scotland. MS is relentless, painful, and disabling, and this treatment increases the options for people to manage their condition and help prevent symptoms.

“Our community’s experiences tell us just how big a difference having different treatments available can make.

“We hope that appraisal bodies in other parts of the UK follow suit as soon as possible, so everyone with MS can access ozanimod if it's the right option for them.

“We have never been closer to stopping MS, and this is just the latest in a number of new treatments which have been made available in the past few years for the 15,000 people living with MS in Scotland.”

Help NICE rethink its decision

We'll be providing feedback and encouraging NICE to rethink its decision for England and Wales. Tell us why you think ozanimod, a first line tablet-based treatment, would make a difference to people with relapsing MS.

Please email [email protected] with your thoughts or experience by 10 February 2021.

Read more about ozanimod