NICE recommends tofacitinib for juvenile idiopathic arthritis

NICE has recommended Pfizer’s Xeljanz® (tofacitinib) as an option to treat polyarticular juvenile arthritis and juvenile psoriatic arthritis.

Woman holding sore hand, indicating juvenile arthritis

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published final draft guidance recommending Pfizer’s Xeljanz® (tofacitinib) as an option for treating active polyarticular juvenile arthritis and juvenile psoriatic arthritis in people aged two years and older.

The treatment is available for young people whose arthritis has not responded well enough to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Furthermore, it is only available if a tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitor is not suitable or does not control the condition well enough, and if the company provides tofacitinib according to the commercial arrangement.

The recommendation is based on clinical evidence that shows that tofacitinib is effective when compared with a placebo and indirect comparisons suggest it has a similar effect to other treatments for the same indication.

Tofacitinib is the second drug which has been recommended as part of a new approach to the cost comparison fast track appraisal process being piloted by NICE. The programme works by using a subset of the appraisal committee to assess low-risk treatments, comparing them to similar therapies that have already been appraised by NICE. This sub-committee is then able to make a recommendation without requiring a full committee meeting.

“I am very pleased NICE has been able to recommend tofacitinib for young people with this form of arthritis. Tofacitinib has the potential to help young people with this condition be more able to take part in some physical activities and sports, which will significantly help improve their quality of life,” commented Meindert Boysen at NICE. “I am also pleased the company worked with NICE and our independent appraisal committee to supply evidence which meant we could not only make a positive recommendation, but one which fast-tracks access for this group of people in the National Health Service (NHS).”