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Oral medication approved as alternative option to injections for anaemia in CKD patients

Alendronic acid

An oral medication that could be used instead of injections for treating anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been approved by NICE.

Roxadustat (Evrenzo) can be used in adults with stage 3 to 5 CKD who have symptomatic anaemia if they have no iron deficiency and are not on dialysis at the start of treatment, NICE said.

The decision comes after the Astellas Pharma Ltd submitted additional data to NICE from a clinical trial showing roxadustat worked as well as darbepoetin alfa.

An arrangement to provide the treatment to the NHS at a discount had also been reached with the company, NICE said.

The committee concluded that anaemia can be associated with extreme fatigue and has a considerable effect on quality of life for people with CKD.

They also considered that many people with anaemia find injecting themselves with erythropoiesis stimulating agents unpleasant and difficult and some have to rely on others to give them their injections.

Those with CKD who need treatment for anaemia would welcome an alternative oral treatment, the committee added.

The drug works by stimulating the increase of red blood cell production and improving utilisation of iron stores.

Andrea Brown, chief executive of the National Kidney Federation said most people did not realise the impact anaemia can have on a person’s life.

‘A new treatment is important for those who do not tolerate current therapies and as a means of simplifying treatment for thousands of adults with anaemia associated with CKD.’

NICE recently announced that dapagliflozin is to be recommended for treating patients with CKD under draft guidance out for consultation.

And last year, a NICE CKD update from NICE included new referral rules and changes to ethnicity calculations.