Scotland has become the first part of the UK to make a new treatment available on the NHS for those with the chronic condition ulcerative colitis (UC).

Almost 2,000 people in Scotland who suffer from the condition – which causes persistent abdominal pain and brings with it an increased risk of colon cancer – could now benefit from being treated with filgotinib.

It comes after the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved the drug – a tablet which patients take once a day which is also known as Jyseleca – for use by the NHS when other treatments have been unsuccessful.

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which Scotland has the highest rates of in the UK, with around 20,000 people north of the border suffering from UC.

Dr Daniel Gaya, consultant gastroenterologist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said the condition was a “chronic disorder characterised by the inflammation of the colon”.

He welcomed the decision to recommend filgotinib for use on the NHS, saying that data suggests it is “an effective drug in controlling inflammation in patients with a moderate to severe case of the condition”.

Dr Gaya said: “The evidence for this treatment appears to be very positive – with good efficacy, improvements in quality of life with once daily dosing that could be convenient for patients.

“I am pleased to have another option for my patients.”

Roy Provan, chair of the IBD charity Cure Crohn’s Colitis, also welcomed the decision, saying: “Great strides have already been made in introducing new drugs which improve the quality of life of patients struggling day to day with ulcerative colitis and following today’s recommendation I am pleased to see additional treatment options available.”

Emma Chaffin, vice president of drug manufacturers Galapagos, said the firm was “pleased that the SMC has issued a positive recommendation for the use of filgotinib amongst eligible Scottish patients”.

She stated: “We are committed to supporting people affected by inflammatory conditions and hope that this approval will support many more people to live happier, healthier lives.”