Cancer drug Alimta has been recommended as a first-line treatment for a type of lung cancer in a U-turn move by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).
Trials showed when Alimta was administered alongside drug cisplatin patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for 80% of all lung cancers in the UK, had an increased life expectancy of one year.
The chemotherapy drug was also found to improve sufferers’ comfort by reducing hair loss and the need for constant blood transfusions.
As a result NHS patients will now be offered the drug as another treatment option to tackle tumours.
Currently Alimta is only prescribed as a second line treatment for NSCLC, if patients have tried and failed with other options.
But Nice’s recommendation will mean the drug is now recommended as initial treatment for Large-Cell Carcinoma and Adenocarcinoma NSCLC patients, two of the most common types of the cancer.
The decision could also free up hospital resources as only one dose is needed every three weeks requiring fewer trips to hospital than many current treatments on offer.
Copyright Press Association 2009