The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued draft guidelines backing NHS use of Almirall’s Skilarence to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

The Institute is recommending the drug’s use only in adults who have severe disease and have not responded to, or cannot take, other systemic non-biological treatments.

According to NICE, clinical trial results showed that Skilarence (dimethyl fumarate) improves severe psoriasis more than placebo but, when compared indirectly, is less effective than systemic biological therapies and apremilast (Celgene’s Otezla).

The incremental cost effectiveness ratio for the drug followed by best supportive care compared with best supportive care alone was £23,115 per QALY gained, thus falling within the threshold for what is considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources in this setting.

Another condition of the recommendation is that treatment with Skilarence (dimethyl fumarate) is stopped at 16 weeks if the psoriasis if the response has not been adequate, defined a 75 percent reduction in the PASI score from when treatment started or a 50 precent reduction in the PASI score and a 5-point reduction in the Dermatology Life Quality Index.

It is estimated that 951,000 people in England have psoriasis, of whom about 90 percent have plaque psoriasis.