It will probably be no surprise, to regular readers, that I pay special attention to both the development and availability of treatments for PPMS (Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis). My personal interest is heightened by my living with PPMS, having received my diagnosis n April 2002.
That’s why I was delighted to note that ocrelizumab (widely known by brand name Ocrevus) has now been accepted for use on the UK’s NHS (National Health Service).
Last month, Scotland became the last constituent part of the United Kingdom to fall in line with the rest of the country. This was confirmed when the SMC (Scottish Medicine Consortium) announced its approval for ocrelizumab as the first treatment on NHS Scotland for people with early primary progressive MS.
Ocrelizumab has been available on the NHS in Scotland, as a treatment for people with relapsing MS since December 2018.
Early PPMS explained
A spokesman for the MS Society said that early primary progressive MS is defined by:
- MRI scans that identify inflammation or new or enlarging lesions – doctors will sometimes refer to this as ‘active’ disease
- evidence of level of disability or an ‘EDSS’ score of more than 5.0 and living with primary progressive MS for less than 15 years, or
- an EDSS score of 5.0 or less and living with primary progressive MS for less than 10 years.
In other parts of the UK, the drug was approved as an NHS treatment for early PPMS in England in June last year, and in Wales and Northern Ireland soon afterwards.
The MS Society says it will continue to work across all nations to ensure ocrelizumab is made available to all those across the UK who could benefit.
Meanwhile, MS Trust chief executive officer David Martin said: “The MS Trust is delighted that Ocrevus has been approved for primary progressive MS. As the first approved treatment for progressive MS in Scotland, this is a landmark decision. But we know this is just the start. More treatments for progressive MS are still desperately needed, and we will continue to fight to ensure everyone with MS can access the treatments they need.”
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.