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New drug is discovered to treat migraines

woman touching her forehead suffering a migraine

A new drug to treat acute migraines will be available soon on the NHS for around 13,000 patients.

Rimegepant was previously recommended as a preventable medication for the condition. The drug has now been given the green light from NICE to be a cost-effective option for people suffering from an acute migraine.

Patients could be offered the drug if they have already tried at least two triptans - a group of licensed drugs which are used to treat migraines or headaches - but did not have the desired effect.

At present, if triptans do not do their job properly, there is no alternative medication available and patients are transferred to a migraine professional, but there is a limited service across the country with long waiting lists - which can be a headache in themselves!

Studies show Rimegepant is more likely to reduce pain after two hours than a dummy drug. It’s taken as a wafer which dissolves under the tongue stopping protein being released around the brain - a process known as calcitonin gene-related peptide - which is believed to be the cause of severe migraines.

Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, told Sky News: "This is the first and only NICE-recommended medicine that can help alleviate the misery of acute migraines and may be considered a step-change in treatment.

"Migraine is a condition described in comments to NICE from carers and people with migraine as an invisible disability that affects all aspects of life including work, education, finances, mental health, social activities, and family.

"Today's final draft guidance addresses the high unmet need for treatment options for acute migraine, once again demonstrating our ability to ensure clinically and cost-effective medicines are available to those who need them as quickly as possible."

[ A migraine which lasts for more than 72 hours is called a status migrainosus. ]

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