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MHRA approves secukinumab for paediatric arthritis

Pharmacy News

MHRA approves secukinumab for paediatric arthritis

The MHRA has granted marketing authorisation for Cosentyx (secukinumab) to treat two types of paediatric arthritic conditions, manufacturer Novartis UK announced on Monday (November 7).

Secukinumab – which was recommended by NICE last year to treat a chronic back pain condition in young adults – will now be used alone or in combination with methotrexate to treat patients aged 6 years or older who suffer from enthesitis-related arthritis (ERA) and juvenile psoriatic arthritis (JPsA) and have not responded to conventional therapies.

ERA and JPsA are forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), a progressive and debilitating autoimmune conditions. JIA is the most common type of arthritis in under-16s with 1,500 diagnoses in the UK every year. ERA and JPsA each account for 11 per cent of these cases.

If left untreated, these conditions can lead to high levels of joint swelling and disability continuing into adulthood. If properly managed, however, patients can live with the inactive disease and even prevent the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

The MHRA’s authorisation is based on data from the Phase III JUNIPERA trial which showed “significantly longer time” between flare-ups among JPsA and ERA patients compared to placebo, with the risk of flare being reduced by 72 per cent over two years.

“We are pleased to announce the news of marketing authorisation for secukinumab in young people living with ERA and JPsA and are delighted that they will now have the possibility of accessing an additional treatment option,” said Marie-Andrée Gamache, who heads up the manufacturer's innovative medicines division in the UK and Ireland. 

“Evidence shows secukinumab reduces flare risk and joint symptoms in young people affected by JPsA and ERA for a sustained period up to two years,” added Professor Athimalaipet Ramanan, consultant paediatric rheumatologist at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW).

“The authorisation provides us with an alternative targeted therapy, offering patients the potential for a monthly dosing option."

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