Technology Appraisal Guidance No. 32
Source: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
- On the balance of their clinical and cost effectiveness neither beta interferon nor glatiramer acetate is recommended for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the NHS in England and Wales.
- It is likely that patients currently receiving beta interferon or glatiramer acetate for MS, whether as routine therapy or part of a clinical trial, could suffer loss of well being if their treatment is discontinued at a time they did not anticipate. Because of this, all NHS patients who are on therapy at the date of publication of this guidance should have an option to continue treatment until they and their consultant consider it is appropriate to stop, having regard to the criteria established for withdrawal from treatment in the Guidelines of the Association of British Neurologists published in January 2001. This also applies to all participating patients at the conclusion of a clinical trial (irrespective as to whether they had received placebo or active drug) and women whose therapy has been interrupted by pregnancy.
- The Department of Health and the National Assembly for Wales are invited to consider the strategy outlined in Section 7.1 of the detailed guideline with a view to acquiring any or all of the medicines appraised for this guidance in a manner that could be considered to be cost effective.
Note: As a direct result of the NICE guidance, The Department of Health, National Assembly for Wales, Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services & Public Safety have reached agreement with manufacturers on a risk-sharing scheme for the supply of interferon beta and glatiramer acetate on the NHS. They have issued a Health Service Circular to the NHS that explains the scheme. The circular (HSC 2002/004) is available on the Internet at
The guidance shown above constitutes Section 1 of the full document. A copy of the full document and a summary of the evidence is available on the Internet at
Copies of the document can also be obtained by ing 0845 003 7783 or emailingand quoting reference number N0051.
This guidance represents the view of the Institute which was arrived at after careful consideration of the available evidence. Health professionals are expected to fully take it into account when exercising their clinical judgement. This guidance does not, however, override the individual responsibility of health professionals to make appropriate decisions in the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.
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Enquiries concerning the guidance should be addressed to: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, MidCity Place, 71 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NA. email:
Beta Interferon and Glatiramer Acetate for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.
Issue Date: January 2002
Review Date: November 2004