Thousands of migraineurs could benefit from the NHS drug

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Thousands of migraine sufferers could benefit from an NHS-approved medicine.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said it has recommended eptinezumab (also called Vyepti) to prevent migraines in about 164,000 adults who have failed at least three previous preventive treatments.

The medicine is given as an intravenous infusion every 12 weeks in the hospital and is effective against migraine.

Nice said that medical opinion suggests that eptinezumab may be reserved for people with severe migraine attacks or who may not be able to take other shots at home.

The drug was found to be as effective as three other drugs already approved for home injection (erenumab, fremanezumab, and galcanezumab).

All four drugs are calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors that target how proteins cause blood vessels in the brain to swell.

Migraines are common, affecting about 1 in 5 women and about 1 in 15 men. They usually start in early adulthood.

In addition to the debilitating headache, many people suffer from other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or noise.

Eptinezumab costs around £5,870 for a year’s treatment, although the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck has agreed to make it available to the NHS at a reduced price.

Rob Music, Chief Executive of the Migraine Trust, said: “While it is great news that there is another treatment option for people living with this painful, debilitating brain condition, it is crucial that those entitled to actually have access to it.

“This new class of medicines has changed the lives of many people with migraine in the UK.

“It has allowed many to do things that migraine prevented them from doing, from being able to work full time to being able to enjoy travel.

“Unfortunately, too many people whose lives are currently seriously affected by migraine and who are eligible for these treatments do not have access to them.

“As we move into 2023, we hope that integrated systems of care will do more to ensure that access to this potentially life-changing treatment increases.”

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