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Ibrutinib recommended in Scotland

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

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Earlier this week, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) issued updated guidance regarding the use of ibrutinib (Imbruvica®) within NHS Scotland for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukaemia, with approximately 168 people diagnosed in Scotland each year.


The SMC recommended ibrutinib for “the treatment of adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) who have received at least one prior therapy” for “patients with relapsed/refractory CLL and for whom fludarabine-based regimens are inappropriate”. A copy of the guidance is available here.

This overturns a previous decision from August 2016, which did not recommend ibrutinib for these patients. However, this previous decision also recommended ibrutinib for the treatment of CLL “patients with 17p deletion or TP53 mutation who are unsuitable for chemo-immunotherapy”, which will continue to apply. More detail on this decision is available from the SMC here, or in our previous news article here.

This decision brings access in Scotland into line with the decision from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which recommended ibrutinib for both groups in England and Wales.

Zack Pemberton-Whiteley, Head of Campaigns and Advocacy at Leukaemia CARE commented:

“Leukaemia CARE have been involved throughout both SMC appraisals and we are extremely pleased with the updated guidance issued by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.

This guidance overturns a negative previous decision and means that ibrutinib will now be routinely available in Scotland for the treatment of relapsed or refractory CLL patients. These patients will now have access to an additional, effective treatment option should they need it.”

For further information, please contact our Campaigns and Advocacy team. They are available Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 5:30pm. If you would like to contact them, you can: