Insightec, a pioneer and global leader in focused ultrasound, has welcomed a positive recommendation report from the Dutch Healthcare Institute (Zorginstituut Nederland, ZIN) to have MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) reimbursed for people suffering from essential tremor (ET). This recommendation is a pivotal moment, paving the way for nation-wide access to focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor.
Released to the public on the public on December 18, 2023, the ZIN recommendation concludes that MRgFUS (also called high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU) which was pioneered by Insightec, is an effective treatment for patients with moderate to severe medication-refractory essential tremor who are not suitable for deep brain stimulation. It also concludes that these patients should therefore be included in the national basic health insurance package, which would guarantee patient access to the therapy. The report was produced following a request submitted by Amsterdam UMC in early 2023 with the support of Dutch medical societies, including the Dutch Association for Neurosurgery (NVvN) and the Dutch Association for Neurology (NVN).
“This is an important day not only for us at Insightec, but also for over 17 million Dutch residents who could not have access to focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor so far,” says Maurice Ferré, M.D., CEO and chairman of the board of Insightec. “We are delighted to welcome the Netherlands in the growing club of countries that secure patient access to MRgFUS.”
According to an Insightec study, patients experienced significant reductions in upper limb tremor, tremor-related disability, and quality of life. The most common intraprocedural adverse events included dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting, which all resolved. Post-procedural adverse events included paraesthesia and gait disturbance, which were often transient or resolved within 12 months.
About MRgFUS. MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS), an effective, non-invasive treatment option for essential tremor. MRgFUS uses specialised ultrasound technology to deliver targeted brain therapy without an incision to ablate the brain tissue that causes abnormal movements. Guided by MRI to target the specific area of the brain, neurosurgeons benefit from real-time, detailed images of the brain for precise localisation and monitoring during the procedure.