Biologics for treating severe asthma: Reslizumab, Benralizumab, Mepolizumab and Omalizumab
Less than 50% of severe asthma patients have eosinophil-driven disease (Wenzel2005) and Biologics are designed to control the number of eosinophil cells (Asthma UK). Only 10.8% of eligible severe asthma patients have access to biologic medicines today in the UK. Increasing the use of biologics appropriately would reduce use of Oral corticosteroids (OCS), associated with negative side effects, and exacerbations, causing 75,000 annual UK hospital admissions, each costing £1500.
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This innovation is part of the Accelerated Access Collaborative's Rapid Uptake Products (RUP) programme which has been designed to support stronger adoption and spread of proven innovations. It identifies and supports products with NICE approval that support the NHS Long Term Plan’s key clinical priorities, but have lower than expected uptake to date.
The AHSN Network is supporting the RUP programme throughout England.
The four Asthma biologics on the RUP programme are currently procured through specialised commissioning and are recommended by NICE. The majority of eligible patients (>60%) remain hidden in primary care without access to specialist care or are sub optimally managed. Objectives of the programme are to raise awareness of the medicines and improve pathways to reduce exacerbations, reduce overuse of OCS and improve patient symptoms.
The aim is to improve the current pathway through a more proactive identification of patients hidden in primary care, through the introduction of risk stratification tools, inclusive policies for timely diagnosis, inhaler technique assessment and referral to specialist hubs. This will improve quality standards and remove duplicative diagnostic work and time to MDT decision.
The programme is also being led by the British Lung Foundation, British Thoracic society, ERS/ATS, and selected respiratory specialists from around the UK.