A new NHS backed wafer could help thousands of migraine sufferers

If you suffer from migraines, you’ll have no doubt tried everything to try and avoid them.

From countless painkillers, beta-blockers, and trips to the GP, to so-called hacks like the daith piercing, different remedies work for different people.

And now, the NHS is backing a new medication that could help the one in seven Brits – mostly women – that suffer from the debilitating pain.

The drug comes in the form of a medicated wafer, which dissolves under the tongue.

Known as Rimegepant, which is to be taken every other day, it will only be available to adults who have already tried at least three other preventative drugs, and still have migraines on four to 15 days of every month.

It works by stopping a protein that causes severe pain being released around the brain. There are injections that target the same protein, but this is the first oral option.

It’s been backed by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which makes decisions on which drugs can be offered in England.

Helen Knight, NICE medicines-evaluation director said: ‘Each year the lives of millions of people in England are blighted by migraine attacks.

‘They can be extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person’s quality of life.

‘Rimegepant is the first oral treatment for migraine to be recommended by NICE – and for many thousands of people, it is likely to be a welcome and more convenient addition to existing options for a condition that is often overlooked and undertreated.’

The Migraine Trust also welcomed the decision, but said they were ‘disappointed’ the wafer would not being more widely available for treating acute migraines. Currently, its only been approved for people who experience fewer than 15 migraines a month.

Approximately 5.6 million people in England are thought to have episodic migraines, but it is estimated that around 190,000 migraine attacks are experienced every day.

The Migraine Trust’s chief executive, Rob Music, said: ‘Too many people with migraine end up with medication overuse headache as a result of their migraine treatment, which has a serious impact on their lives. This is an impact which is preventable if migraine is treated effectively.

‘Gepants, the new class of migraine medication which Rimegepant is part of, can help prevent this happening. While we welcome that it has been approved for the preventive treatment of migraine, we are very disappointed by the decision not to approve it for the acute treatment of migraine.’

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