A new drug for the treatment of head and neck cancer has been accepted for use on the NHS.

Nivolumab, marketed as Opdivo, was one of four medicines approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

The drug, used to treat cancer of the head and neck, including of the mouth and throat, can improve overall survival and help patients maintain quality of life during their remaining months.

Its approval was welcomed by Cancer Research UK, which said Nivolumab would offer another treatment to those whose disease has progressed on or after chemotherapy.

Gregor McNie of the charity said: “Head and neck cancer is very difficult to treat once it has relapsed or spread, and options, including surgery and radiotherapy, are limited.

“So it is fantastic news that Nivolumab will be made available for some patients in Scotland with this devastating disease.”

The SMC has also approved the use of Stiripentol (Diacomit) for the treatment of children with a very rare type of epilepsy known as Dravet’s syndrome.

This type of epilepsy appears in young children, and can cause prolonged and repeated seizures.

Stiripentol, which was accepted for use in combination with two other medicines, may significantly reduce the frequency of seizures.

Baricitinib (Olumiant) was accepted for the treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults who have not responded to or are intolerant of other current treatments, while rolapitant (Varuby) was accepted for the prevention of delayed nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in adults.