NICE recommends a potentially life-changing treatment for short bowel syndrome, a chronic condition affecting nutrient absorption.
Short bowel syndrome causes the body to not absorb enough nutrients from food. It occurs when people do not have enough small intestine, which is the part of the body where most nutrients are absorbed during digestion.
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence has recommended Teduglutide; it will be available to patients in a stable condition following surgery to remove an abnormal bowel. This surgery may be necessary for conditions such as Crohn’s disease and premature babies and children who need surgery for enterocolitis or other conditions.
“This treatment is a game-changer because it will reduce the burden on people with short bowel syndrome, their families and their carers,” said Caroyln Wheatley, Chair of PINNT (Support and advocacy for people on home artificial nutrition).
Treating short bowel syndrome
Short bowel syndrome is a rare condition, affecting around three out of every million people. It can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and cramping, which can instigate medical complications like malnutrition.
Current treatment options for short bowel syndrome include giving people nutrients and fluids intravenously through a drip, known as parenteral support and best supportive care. Best supportive care includes treatments which control bowel movements, fluid restriction and diet changes.
Teduglutide: transformation treatment for patients
Teduglutide helps improve the absorption of nutrients and fluid from the remaining intestine. It is estimated that around 70 people are eligible for the treatment. This new therapy could transform the quality of life for patients with this syndrome by reducing the number of days a week patients need parenteral support compared to a placebo. Teduglutide is injected subcutaneously once daily and can be self-administered.
Helen Knight, interim director of medicines evaluation in the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “Current treatments for short bowel syndrome are lifesaving, but they can be very complex, time-consuming and can lead to severe complications. People with short bowel syndrome currently need parenteral support, which can be required for as much as 14 hours a day, seven days a week.
“NICE’s independent appraisal committee heard that people with short bowel syndrome often have very limited quality of life and there is a heavy burden placed on them and their carers by having to administer treatment at home. Clinical evidence showed teduglutide can help give people with short bowel syndrome greater normality by reducing the number of days per week people would require parenteral support. I am therefore delighted we can recommend teduglutide for some people with this condition.”