Chronic migraine sufferers to get first new drug in 20 years
Chronic migraine sufferers are given fresh hope of getting rid of their crippling headaches with first new drug in 20 years
- New drug self-injected at home will benefit 10,000 people suffering migraines
- Fremanezumab was developed by UK scientists over three decades
- In trials the drug has reduced the frequency, severity and duration of migraines
- Lead researcher called the introduction of the drug ‘fantastic news’
Thousands of NHS patients will benefit from the first new treatment for migraines in 20 years.
A drug that can be self-injected at home will benefit 10,000 people who have chronic migraines, drugs watchdog NICE announced.
The medication, which is called Fremanezumab, was developed by British scientists over three decades.
It will initially be given to those who have tried three other treatments. If the eligibility threshold is lowered, it could benefit millions of people.
It is the first new migraine treatment since Triptans – drugs which ease the symptoms of migraines but not the cause – were developed in 1997.
A drug that can be self-injected at home will benefit 10,000 people who have chronic migraines, drugs watchdog NICE announced (EpiPen stock photo)
More than 8million Britons – three quarters of them women – suffer migraine attacks, which involve dizziness, nausea and headaches.
They affect more people than diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined and are the sixth most common cause of disability in the world.
But until now there has been no treatment specifically designed to prevent them, with patients given beta blockers, antidepressants and Botox to stave off the crippling attacks.
Fremanezumab is among a new wave of drugs which tackles the protein – called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) – responsible for the pain and nausea associated with a migraine.
CGRP causes blood vessels intertwined with nerve endings in the head to swell up.
Fremanezumab, which is injected either every month or three months, depending on dose, contains an antibody that blocks that process.
More than 8million Britons – three quarters of them women – suffer migraine attacks, which involve dizziness, nausea and headaches (stock photo)
Migraines affect more people than diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined and are the sixth most common cause of disability in the world (stock photo)
Previous attempts to get similar drugs approved for the NHS have failed – with NICE unwilling to accept the £5,000-a-year list price. Now drugs giant Teva has negotiated a deal involving a substantial confidential discount.
Study leader Professor Peter Goadsby of King’s College London, who first highlighted the role of CGRP in migraines in 1985, said: ‘This is an enormous, welcome breakthrough for patients with migraine.
‘At last a migraine-specific treatment to prevent attacks is available on the NHS.’
Dr Mark Weatherall, president of the British Association for the Study of Headache, said it was ‘fantastic news’.
‘Anyone who looks after people with chronic migraine understands just how debilitating this neurological disorder can be,’ he said.
In trials the drug has reduced the frequency, severity and duration of migraines.
As part of the agreement, treatment with fremanezumab will be stopped if migraine frequency does not fall by at least 30 per cent after 12 weeks.
Source: Read Full Article