By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor, 18 Jan 2011:
Three drugs that had been restricted to those with moderate to severe symptoms will be made available to those in the early stages of the disease to slow its progression, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has said.
It means patients will no longer be diagnosed with the debilitating condition only to be sent away to wait for their symptoms to worsen before they can be treated.
A fourth drug which was restricted to those with severe symptoms will also be made available to a wider group of patients.
The draft guidance overturns a decision made in 2007 to restrict the drugs because of uncertainty over their cost effectiveness.
New research and calculations have now been conducted by independent teams showing that the drugs work in patients with mild symptoms and offer a large enough benefit to justify the cost of around £2.80 per patient per day. Read more>>