New drug, new hope

New drug, new hope

July 28, 2015

28 July, 2015

After a woman was denied funding for a drug to treat neuropathic pain, her husband came to the Ombudsman for help. The woman has a rare neurological disease and her condition, which is considered palliative, means she has considerable muscle and nerve pain. One of the drugs that helped her pain, Sativex, was only approved for patients with multiple sclerosis, or palliative cancer patients with refractory pain.

 

After a woman was denied funding for a drug to treat neuropathic pain, her husband came to the Ombudsman for help. The woman has a rare neurological disease and her condition, which is considered palliative, means she has considerable muscle and nerve pain. One of the drugs that helped her pain, Sativex, was only approved for patients with multiple sclerosis, or palliative cancer patients with refractory pain.

When Ombudsman staff asked the Ministry’s Exceptional Access Program to review the case, officials suggested the woman try a different drug, covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program. The drug helped control her pain, but she experienced severe side effects, including hallucinations, pounding in her chest, drowsiness, dizziness, anxiety and insomnia.

The Ministry ultimately agreed to consider her case and approved Sativex funding for six months, after which she will be reassessed to confirm if the drug has been effective. The family advised us the drug has eliminated the woman’s pain, with minimal side effects.