A DRUG to help extend the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer has been accepted for routine use by NHS Scotland in what has been hailed as “a landmark decision”.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) also approved the use of three other drugs, a treatment for early primary progressive multiple sclerosis; one for use in a white blood cell cancer; and one used for some cases of migraine prevention.

Abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) will be available for patients with newly-diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer, in combination with hormone therapy in a move that is a UK first.

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Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the UK, with about 3500 new cases in Scotland annually, according to official statistics. The new treatment can extend survival times for the incurable disease, compared to using hormone therapy alone. Steve Allen, a patient representative at the Tackle Prostate Cancer charity, said: “This is a landmark decision which has the potential for positively changing the lives of men in Scotland who have advanced prostate cancer when first diagnosed.

“The SMC is to be applauded for this decision which will allow these patients to have an improved quality of life.”

Tim Windle, policy manager at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “It’s fantastic news that Scotland has become the first country in the UK to make abiraterone available to men when they are newly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.”

Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) will become the first drug to be available for patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis, defined by how long someone has lived with MS symptoms, their level of disability, and MRI scan results.

The drug was approved for use in relapsing MS in December 2018.

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Morna Simpkins, director of MS Society Scotland said: “This is great news and a hugely important development for people diagnosed with primary progressive MS in Scotland. We want every one of the 11,000 people in Scotland living with MS to have access to the right treatment at the right time and this decision takes us closer than ever to that goal.

The other drugs approved were Brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma who have had a limited response to other treatments and Fremanezumab (Ajovy) for migraine sufferers who have not responded to previous treatments.”