Ben HaywardMarch 12th
2020

In what is being touted as a major breakthrough in the treatment of chronic migraines, the NHS has approved a new drug that could actually prevent them.

Following a clinical trial, the ‘life-changing’ new treatment, fremanezumab (also called Ajovy and made by Teva Pharmaceuticals) has been deemed 'more effective' than existing treatments for the symptoms of migraine. 

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), somewhere in the region of 10,000 people could benefit from the new treatment.

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Taken monthly via a self-administered injection, NICE says the drug should be available for patients living with chronic migraine who have failed to respond to at least three other migraine preventive drugs.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said: "Chronic migraines are extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person's quality of life.

"We are pleased that the company has been able to work with us to address the concerns highlighted in the previous draft guidance so that we are now able to recommend fremanezumab as an option for people with chronic migraine when several other medications have failed."

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Meanwhile, in an official statement Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust Gus Baldwin said: "We are delighted that for the first time chronic migraine patients will be able to access an effective drug on the NHS that has been specifically designed to prevent migraine attacks.

"Migraine is a painful, debilitating and exhausting brain disease and it is vital that people living with this awful condition have access to the best treatments available.

"We are particularly pleased that the patient evidence we submitted to NICE was referenced as a supporting factor in the approval granted today.

"We would like to thank NICE for listening to the voices of chronic migraine patients, who have been united in their call to be allowed access to this drug on the NHS. Many people we spoke to told us this drug had been 'life-changing' for them.

"We would also like to thank Teva for reaching an agreement with NICE that will allow more patients across the UK to access this drug. We're now calling on the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to follow suit and endorse this guidance without delay so eligible migraine patients across the whole of the UK can access it.”

However, when tweeting about the development, Mr Baldwin was a little less ‘official’…

He said: “I say something CEO-ish and considered in our @migrainetrust statement but really I'm doing a delighted jig in the office this morning in celebration of all the #migraine patients in England and Wales who will now have access to a #CGRP drug for the first time!”

The Migraine Trust defines chronic migraine as when a person experiences fifteen or more headache days per month, including having a migraine on eight or more of those days.

Let’s hope this treatment is as effective as it sounds!

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