News | Durkan welcomes new Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy treatment

Durkan welcomes new Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy treatment

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan, Chair of the All Party Group on Muscular Dystrophy, has welcomed the approval of treatment for the first ever drug to potentially treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Mr Durkan said: “I am delighted that The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has now published final guidance and has recommended Ataluren (Translarna) as a possible treatment for people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“I also welcome the announcement from the Department of Health that this treatment will be made available to patients in Northern Ireland. This condition is a very rare, muscle-wasting condition and the treatment is very costly. However, I have no doubt that the availability of the treatment here will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of those affected by DMD and their families.”

The Translarna drug is designed to treat boys whose DMD is caused by a nonsense mutation, are aged five and over, can still walk and are signed up to a managed access agreement. Clinical trials of Translarna have shown that the drug could help keep children walking for longer, and delay the need for a wheelchair for up to seven years.

Mr Durkan added: “Given that it is a requirement for treatment that the child can still walk, time is very valuable. It is therefore encouraging that the Health Minister has taken the necessary and immediate action to approve the treatment here and I hope that those eligible are now treated without further delay.”

Mark H Durkan MLA

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