Asthma UK welcomes the recommendation to provide a new severe asthma treatment on the NHS and urges its speedy adoption.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently announced its recommendation, a decision welcomed by Asthma UK.

Reslizumab is the latest of a new wave of monoclonal antibody treatments designed to treat a specific type of asthma called severe eosinophilic asthma.

This involves an inflammation of the airways linked to a particular type of white blood cell (eosinophils) and is one of the most debilitating forms of the condition.

Of the 5.4 million people living with asthma in the UK, severe asthma has a devastating impact on approximately 250,000 who do not respond to conventional inhalers. This struggle for breath can destroy daily lives, causing long periods off work or school, time in hospital and even death.

Treatment options for these people are extremely limited, with most relying on high-dose steroids such as oral corticosteroids, and even with these medications, their asthma is hard to control.

The side-effects of the drugs available can leave people with severe asthma with other long-term health problems, including diabetes and osteoporosis — so new treatments are urgently needed.

Reslizumab has the potential to reduce reliance on high doses of corticosteroids that have unpleasant and harmful side-effects in the long-term.

Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, said: “Reslizumab has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for some people living with severe asthma and we are delighted that it has been recommended for use on the NHS.”

“New monoclonal antibody treatments, which have shown success in clinical trials are likely to be effective in treating around 30-40% of those living with severe asthma, so it is imperative that they are made available.”

“While today’s news is an encouraging step forward, it’s important to note that these treatments will only benefit a certain group of people. There remain many thousands more for whom no effective treatments are available. More research is needed so that in the future all people with severe asthma will have an effective treatment option.”