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Drug alternatives made available for Crohn's

People suffering with severe Crohn's disease, which cannot be treated with commonly used drugs, can now be prescribed two alternatives.

Infliximab and adalimumab have been approved by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) for the treatment of Crohn's.

The drugs can be given to people not able to take traditional therapies because they are intolerant of them or have not responded to them.

In particular, they will be given to adults in whom the disease has taken a severe, active form. However, the costs of the medicines needs to be taken into account, with cheaper options tried first.

The NICE guidance says that adults with active, fistulising Crohn's, and young people aged six to 17 with severe, active Crohn's, can be given infliximab.

Dr Carole Longson, health technology evaluation centre director said: "We are pleased to recommend these treatments for this debilitating, incurable condition.

"Our review of the evidence indicates that infliximab and adalimumab are clinically and cost-effective options for some people with the most severe forms of Crohn's disease, and for those that standard treatments have failed, or are not an option."

The new guidance will be put into practice across the country within the next three months, replacing localised instructions.

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National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence