The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has shared its final guidance for the recommended use of UCB’s Cimzia (certolizumab pegol).

The guidance is for the treatment of severe plaque psoriasis in adults who have failed to respond to, or are unsuitable for, other systemic therapies.

The guidance is great news for the 1.5 million people in England who have psoriasis, as it can impact all areas of the patients’ life, mentally and physically due to its visible nature. Despite drug development advances in the past decade, patient survey data suggests that moderate to severe psoriasis continues to be under-treated, meaning that Cimzia will help fill an unmet need.

The drug is a biologic medicine which works to prevent inflammation that may result from an overactive immune system. It is already approved by NICE for the treatment of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adults who have had a tumour necrosis factor-alpha inhibitor, active psoriatic arthritis after inadequate response to DMARDs, and severe active ankylosing spondylitis and severe non‑radiographic axial spondyloarthritis in adults whose disease has responded inadequately to, or who cannot tolerate, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Patients often report that “the highly visible nature of psoriasis can have a detrimental effect on the quality of life;” said Helen McAteer from The Psoriasis Association. “In order to keep their skin covered, they sometimes choose to avoid doing certain activities.  Any treatment that offers the potential to improve daily life for patients living with this condition is welcomed.”

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis; accounting for 80-90% of cases, appearing as raised red patches on the skin that can crack, bleed and cause pain.