NHS England has published interim guidance allowing the use of adalimumab (AbbVie’s Humira) to treat children with severe refractory uveitis, an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.

This policy, it says, will benefit children for whom uveitis threatens their sight, and for whom other treatments have proven ineffective.

A policy on this indication was held over from the 2015/16 specialised commissioning prioritisation round as experts awaited evidence from a clinical trial called Sycamore. This evidence has now been shared with NHS England in confidence, and has persuaded regulators of the drug’s effectiveness in the setting. 

“NHS England’s interim policy will be of significant benefit for children with this condition, helping prevent visual loss and visual complications,” noted A.V. Ramanan, consultant paediatric rheumatologist at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children & Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath.

It is expected that the policy will be given the full stamp of approval by the clinical priority advisory group in July. All treatments for uveitis - up to and including the use of immuno-suppressants - will remain funded by clinical commissioning groups. Adalimumab will be commissioned and funded by NHS England through specialist regional centres.