SMC approves Xermelo for adults with carcinoid syndrome diarrhoea

The UK affiliate of Ipsen has announced that Scottish patients with carcinoid syndrome (CS) diarrhoea can now receive treatment with Ipsen’s Xermelo® (telotristat ethyl) via NHS Scotland, following the positive announcement by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

Telotristat ethyl, which is administered orally in combination with somatostatin analogue (SSA) therapy, is a treatment for CS diarrhoea in adult patients living with neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) who are inadequately controlled by SSA therapy and are experiencing more than four bowel movements per day.

NETs are rare tumours that grow in the neuroendocrine system of the body. This system is responsible for the production of hormones which are released into the bloodstream, therefore the presence of NETs can disrupt the hormone balance within the body, for example NETs can trigger an over-production of serotonin. When serotonin is present in large amounts within the body, it can disrupt a number of bodily processes causing diarrhoea, flushing, wheezing and cardiac damage. Carcinoid syndrome is the terminology used to classify this collection of symptoms.

CS is incurable in over 95% of patients and it has been estimated that there are currently approximately 10,000 people living with CS  in Europe. The disease can cause a range of symptoms with one of the most common being diarrhoea, which affects 75% of patients. Diarrhoea can negatively affect a patient’s emotional, social and physical well-being with over 10% of patients having seven or more bowel movements a day.

Professor Nicholas Reed, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Honorary Professor, University of Glasgow said, “Carcinoid syndrome can severely impact a patient’s quality of life to the extent that 82% of patients are currently unemployed or unable to work. TELESTAR demonstrated that telotristat ethyl significantly reduced the number of daily bowel motions in carcinoid syndrome patients compared with placebo.”