News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Two new treatments funded for blood disorders and cancers

Media release

Two new treatments funded for blood disorders and cancers

20 August, 2014

Up to 400 patients a year are likely to live longer as a result of PHARMAC funding two new medicines.

The medicines are azacitidine (Vidaza) and lenalidomide (Revlimid), which will be funded from 1 September.

Azacitidine is being funded for a group of blood disorders collectively known as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and for two types of leukaemia (chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia and
MDS-associated acute myeloid leukaemia).

Lenalidomide will be funded for multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. It will be an alternative to the currently funded treatments bortezomib and thalidomide, and funded for use in patients
if these treatments fail.

Director of Operations Sarah Fitt says both new medicines have proven effectiveness and should lead to patients living longer. They are important additions to the tools that haematologists will
have to treat multiple myeloma, leukaemia and MDS.

“Clinical trials of azacitidine showed it nearly doubles the survival rate of people with MDS, compared to conventional treatment,” she says. “This is a significant improvement for this patient group,
who have had limited treatment options.

“In the case of lenalidomide, the aim of treatment is to delay disease progression and also to prolong life. The trials show that lenalidomide is effective in patients whose disease has progressed
after receiving previous treatments.”

Sarah Fitt says another benefit of lenalidomide is that it doesn’t have some of the side effects of the other funded treatments, which can be debilitating for patients. Bortezomib and thalidomide can
cause peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes tingling, numbness and pain in hands and feet.

“So, as well as being an effective treatment, lenalidomide is less likely to cause debilitating peripheral neuropathy than the currently available treatments, so it may be a better treatment option for
some patients.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news