Home Technology Migraine pill which could help 170,000 sufferers given NHS green light

Migraine pill which could help 170,000 sufferers given NHS green light

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The health minister says the treatment could give those with the condition a chance to ‘live their life to the fullest’.
By Claire Gilbody Dickerson, news reporter
Thursday 11 April 2024 01:32, UK
A migraine pill which could change the lives of thousands of people who suffer from the „incredibly debilitating” condition should be made accessible on the NHS „swiftly”, a charity has said. 
Atogepant – sold under the brand name Aquipta and made by AbbVie – has been given the green light for NHS use under new final draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
Anyone who experiences at least four migraine days a month and has tried at least three other treatments but found no relief, will be eligible for the once-daily pill. It means some 170,000 migraine sufferers will have more treatment options, Nice said.
However, Nice recommends interrupting the treatment after three months if chronic migraines – that happen on more than 15 days of the month – don’t reduce by at least 30% and episodic migraine – which happen on fewer than 15 days of the month – by at least 50%.
According to The Migraine Trust, about 10 million adults in the UK are living with the condition.
Describing how a migraine attack can be „incredibly debilitating”, the charity’s chief executive, Rob Music, called for „swift” access to the drug on the NHS.
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„Symptoms can include intense head pain, loss of or changes to the senses, and lack of ability to carry out day-to-day life,” he said.
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„It is positive to see even more therapies emerging for people with migraine as many still rely on treatments developed for other conditions.
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„We now need to ensure access is swift, so that migraine patients can benefit from them as quickly as possible.”
Health minister Andrew Stephenson said: „Migraines affect millions of people in this country and this new treatment will help prevent recurring migraine attacks when other medicines have failed.
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„It will allow more people whose daily life is affected by this painful, debilitating condition to manage their migraines more effectively and to live their lives to the fullest.”
Nice’s guidance for England comes after Aquipta was recommended for use in Scotland by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) in October last year.
Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at Nice, said: „Currently, the most effective options for people with chronic migraines who have already tried three preventative treatments are drugs that need to be injected.
„The committee heard from patient experts that some people cannot have injectable treatments, for example because they have an allergy or phobia of needles.”
Ms Knight said patients with chronic migraines „would welcome an oral treatment” while Aquipta also offers more choice to those suffering from episodic migraines.
If there are no appeals against its final draft guidance, Nice is expected to publish its final guidance on the drug next month.
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