NICE medicines guidance

Advice and Guidance: NICE medicines

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises the National Health Service (NHS) regarding treatments that should be made available. NICE issues this advice in several forms.

The most well known of these are public health guidance that aims to prevent ill health, clinical guidelines which cover the treatment of individual conditions, and technology appraisals that describe the place in treatment of individual medicines or medical procedures. 

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust has a responsibility to ensure that treatments recommended by NICE are made available to patients. The trust must also ensure any treatments that NICE recommend should not be used, are not used. 

Under the NHS Constitution, patients have the right to receive drugs and treatments that are recommended in NICE technology appraisals if their doctor thinks that these treatments are right for them. When NICE recommends a treatment, the trust must make it available within 3 months of that recommendation. 

In a letter from the NHS chief executive Innovation, Health and Wealth, publication of NHS formularies (2012), the Department of Health has stated that all NHS Organisations should publish information which sets out which NICE technology appraisals are included in their local formularies by April 1 2013.

In Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, the Clinical Effectiveness Group discusses all new NICE technology appraisals and decides if they are relevant to the mental health or community services that the trust provides. This group has agreed that the following technology appraisals related to the use of medicines are relevant to the services we are responsible for providing: 

TA77 Zaleplon, zolpidem and zopiclone for the short-term management of insomnia

TA213 Aripiprazole for the treatment of schizophrenia in people aged 15 to 17 years

TA217 Donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimers disease

TA292 Aripiprazole for moderate to severe manic episodes in adolescents with bipolar I disorder

TA325 Nalmefene for reducing alcohol consumption in people with alcohol dependence

TA367 Vortioxetine for treating major depressive episodes.

The Medicines Management Committee has made sure that the recommendations in these technology appraisals have been included in the trust's prescribing guidelines (sometimes called a formulary). All recommended medicines have been made available for doctors to prescribe. 

The Medicines Management Committee is also responsible for deciding whether medicines that have not been assessed by NICE should be made available. Oxleas NHS Foundation and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust jointly produce prescribing guidelines that outline the best use of all medicines, and describe the place of these medicines in treatment to obtain the maximum benefit and minimum side effects for each patient.

New medicines that have not been assessed by NICE are considered by the Area Prescribing Committee (APC) where decisions are taken about;

1. whether the medicine should be made available for local use;

2. the place of the medicine in treatment protocols, and;

3. whether the medicine is suitable for shared care between the hospital and primary care.

Read the minutes and other documents describing the work of the APC here.

For further information about individual medicines and the conditions they treat, please see the medicines A-Z on the NHS website.

Oxleas service users or carers can speak to a pharmacist about medicines on 01322 621062. The line is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.