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Published on 29 November 2007

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NICE approves asthma treatment jab

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Severe asthma sufferers will now be able to be treated with Omalizumab (xolair) after it was approved for use on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has ruled that the jab can be used to treat patients aged 12 and over who have severe persistent allergic asthma.

A total of 5.2 million people in the UK suffer from asthma and an average of four people a day die from it. The charity Asthma UK estimated that around 6,000 people across the UK could potentially benefit from the new treatment.

The drug will only be made available to patients who have had either two or more severe asthma attacks requiring hospital admission in the previous year, or three or more severe asthma attacks in the previous year of which one required hospitalisation and a further two which required extra treatment on top of usual medication.

Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “Severe persistent asthma greatly restricts the quality of life of the individual and can result in limited physical activity, continuous daytime symptoms and frequent symptoms at night.

“The approval of Omalizumab improves the options available to the minority of people with asthma who are classified as having this more severe form and sets clear standards for the NHS in England and Wales on how it should be used.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

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