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Filgotinib recommended as a treatment option for Ulcerative Colitis

We’re delighted that both the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) have recommended filgotinib as a treatment option for some people with Ulcerative Colitis.

NICE is the organisation that decides whether treatments should be available on the NHS in England. Wales and Northern Ireland usually follow NICE decisions too. The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) is the organisation that decides for Scotland.

What is filgotinib?

Filgotinib is a type of drug called a JAK inhibitor. JAKs are proteins that are involved in activating your immune response. This can cause the gut inflammation in Ulcerative Colitis. Filgotinib blocks the effects of JAKs. This reduces inflammation.

What have NICE and the SMC decided?

NICE and the SMC have decided that filgotinib should be available on the NHS to treat some adults with Ulcerative Colitis.

Who can have filgotinib?

Filgotinib is recommended as a treatment option for adults with moderately or severely active Ulcerative Colitis who:

  • Cannot have standard treatments or biologic treatments
  • Did not respond well enough to standard treatments or biologic treatments
  • Have stopped responding to standard treatments or biologic treatments

Standard treatments include aminosalicylates, oral steroids or immunomodulators (for example, azathioprine, mercaptopurine or methotrexate).

How do you have it?

You have it as tablets that you take once a day. You can take it with or without food.

How effective is it?

A large clinical trial looked at how well filgotinib works in adults with moderately or severely active Ulcerative Colitis. The trial compared filgotinib to dummy treatment (placebo). For the dose of filgotinib approved to treat Ulcerative Colitis, the trial found:

  • After 10 weeks of treatment, 26 in every 100 people who had filgotinib were in remission. Only 15 in every 100 people who had placebo were in remission.
  • After 58 weeks of treatment, 37 in every 100 people who had filgotinib were in remission. Only 11 in every 100 people who had placebo were in remission.
  • The rate of side effects was similar in people taking filgotinib and people taking placebo.

When will it be available?

When NICE recommends a treatment option, it should be available on the NHS within 3 months. When the SMC recommends a treatment option, they expect NHS boards in Scotland to make it available. But they do not state a time limit.

How do I get it?

Filgotinib is not suitable for everyone with Ulcerative Colitis. If you think filgotinib might be suitable for you, talk to your IBD team. Together, you can talk about your treatment options and decide what treatment is right for you.


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We know it can be difficult to live with, or support someone living with these conditions. But you’re not alone. We provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and can support you to live well with Crohn’s or Colitis.

Our helpline team can help by:

  • Providing information about Crohn’s and Colitis.

  • Listening and talking through your situation.

  • Helping you to find support from others in the Crohn’s and Colitis community.

  • Signposting you to specialist organisations.

Please be aware we’re not medically or legally trained. We cannot provide detailed financial or benefits advice or specialist emotional support.

Please contact us via telephone, email or LiveChat - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except English bank holidays).

If you need specific medical advice about your condition, your GP or IBD team will be best placed to help.

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