Cost regulators for NHS treatments in England and Wales have deemed AbbVie’s Humira and Allergan’s Ozurdex clinically and cost effective for treating adults with certain types of non-infectious uveitis who have had an inadequate response to corticosteroids.

Uveitis is an uncommon group of inflammatory eye conditions which can be caused either by infection or abnormal activation of the immune system in the uvea, the middle part of the eye.

Non-infectious forms of the condition can lead to reduced vision or vision loss and is the third-leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide, affecting both children and adults but more commonly found in people with an existing inflammatory or autoimmune condition.

In final guidance, both Ozurdex (dexamethasone intravitreal implant) and Humira (adalimumab) have been recommended only in the presence of active disease (that is, current inflammation in the eye) and worsening vision with a risk of blindness.

The decision significantly expands treatment options for eligible patients, who were previously limited to steroids and/or immunosuppressants, which are not without difficulties.

Allergan’s implant is injected into the eye once every six months, and works by suppressing inflammation and preventing oedema forming in the eye. It reduces plasma leakage from blood vessels and inhibits the release of inflammatory compounds that cause eye damage.

Humira is the first and only biologic medicine licensed for adult patients with certain types of non-infectious uveitis (intermediate, posterior and pan-uveitis), offering patients a novel approach to treatment the condition by blocking TNF-α, a specific source of inflammation that can have a role in uveitis.

“We very much welcome NICE’s recommendations as we finally have a routinely available treatment option, which has been shown to be safe and effective for those adults most at risk of sight loss,” said Jessica Hall, Eye Health policy officer at the Royal National Institute for the Blind.