Cost regulators for NHS treatments in England and Wales are backing use of Allergan’s Truberzi to treat irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea (IBS-D) in patients who have not responded to or cannot take other treatments.

In a Final Appraisal Determination, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says treatment with the drug should be started only in secondary care and stopped if the symptoms have not been relieved after four weeks.

Truberzi (eluxadoline) is a first-in-class, oral drug that works by binding to receptors in the digestive system to slow down the movement of food through the gut.

In two pivotal Phase III trials the therapy induced a significant reduction in the two most bothersome symptoms of IBS-D - abdominal pain and diarrhoea - with fast and sustained relief for over six months, according to Allergan, which also noted that treatment effect can be seen within one week and is sustained over six months.

The independent committee heard that IBS-D can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, and having Truberzi as an option would be welcomed by patients.

“This positive recommendation for Truberzi means that those treating IBS-D will now have access to a therapy specifically targeting their patients’ symptoms, when other less tailored approaches have failed,” noted Peter Paine, neurogastroenterologist at Salford Royal Foundation Trust.

The treatment - the first medicine specifically licensed for treating IBS-D to have been made available through the NHS - is estimated to cost around £3 per patient per day.