Ibrutinib monotherapy available on the NHS in Scotland for relapsed or refractory WM

Ibrutinib monotherapy has been approved for NHS in Scotland for adults with Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia who have had at least one previous course of treatment.

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The Scottish Medicines Consortium has today announced that it has recommended ibrutinib monotherapy for adults with Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia (WM) who have had at least one previous course of treatment.

WM is a rare type of low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is generally treated initially with chemotherapy plus rituximab. Although this is usually successful, it can cause significant side effects. WM is also likely to come back and need more treatment in the future.

Ibrutinib is a type of targeted drug called a BTK inhibitor. It blocks the signals that help lymphoma cells survive and grow. You have it as tablets that you take once a day. You carry on taking it unless your lymphoma gets worse or you develop side effects that are difficult to cope with.

Ibrutinib is already available for adults with WM in Scotland when given in combination with rituximab. Until now, it has not been available as single agent therapy for WM.

The SMC assessment considered the use of ibrutinib for adults with WM regardless of whether or not they had received previous treatment. Although the SMC have accepted the drug for NHS use, they have restricted it to people who have already received at least one previous course of treatment. It is disappointing that ibrutinib did not receive wider approval, but today’s SMC recommendation is in line with that of other nations in the UK.

Published: 13 December 2021