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Latest NICE drug recommendations

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today published final guidance on drugs for hepatitis B and leukaemia

NICE is recommending the use of tenofovir disoproxil for the treatment of people in whom antiviral treatment is indicated with chronic HBeAg-positive or HBeAg-negative hepatitis B.

This guidance does not apply to people with chronic hepatitis B who also have hepatitis C, hepatitis D or HIV.

Dr Gillian Leng, NICE deputy chief executive, said: "Hepatitis B can have a serious impact on a person's quality of life, and those with the disease are more likely to develop serious liver problems such as cirrhosis and cancer. This guidance means that patients with the virus will have another treatment option available to combat the problem of viral resistance to other drug therapies."

NICE has also published guidance on the use of rituximab for the first line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, recommending rituximab as a possible first treatment for people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who are able to take fludarabine in combination with cyclophosphamide.

Rituximab should only be used in combination with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide, and is not recommended in combination with any other chemotherapy agents as a first-line treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Dr Carole Longson, NICE health technology evaluation centre director, said: "After looking at all of the available evidence, the independent Appraisal Committee concluded that rituximab, when used as a first line treatment for people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who are able to take fludarabine in combination with cyclophosphamide, represented an effective use of NHS resources. This important guidance increases the treatment options available to people with this condition, wherever they live in England and Wales."

22nd July 2009

From: Healthcare

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