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The treatment prevents nearly half of migraine attacks for people who have few other treatment options, large studies have shown. But drug watchdog Nice will recommend this morning that it is not used on the NHS in England and Wales (stock image)

NHS rejects & # 39; life-changing & # 39; breakthrough migraine after a row about how effective it is

  • Migraine breakthrough will not be available on NHS, officials will say today
  • Patients say that erenumab is life-changing and stops debilitating headaches
  • But it has been rejected by health officials in a row about clinical evidence
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A breakthrough migraine drug must be rejected for NHS use, officials will say today.

Patients say that erenumab is life-changing and stops debilitating headache and nausea after all other treatments have failed.

The monthly injection is the first migraine drug for 20 years and can help more than 500,000 patients. But it has been rejected by health officials in a row about clinical evidence.

The treatment prevents nearly half of migraine attacks for people who have few other treatment options, large studies have shown. But drug watchdog Nice will recommend this morning that it is not used on the NHS in England and Wales.

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The treatment prevents nearly half of migraine attacks for people who have few other treatment options, large studies have shown. But drug watchdog Nice will recommend this morning that it is not used on the NHS in England and Wales (stock image)

The treatment prevents nearly half of migraine attacks for people who have few other treatment options, large studies have shown. But drug watchdog Nice will recommend this morning that it is not used on the NHS in England and Wales (stock image)

Officials said the drug company – pharmaceutical giant Novartis – has not provided evidence that it is better than Botox, which is often used by people with migraine. In view of this, officials believe that the high price of the drug – nearly £ 5,000 a year minus a confidential NHS discount – means that it cannot be demonstrated that it is cost-effective.

The treatment, developed by NHS-funded British scientists, has been privately available last year for £ 386 a month. In April it was approved for use on the NHS in Scotland. More than 8 million Britons – three-quarters of them women – suffer from migraine. So far, however, no tailor-made treatment has been provided, with patients receiving beta-blockers, antidepressants and Botox.

Last July, the drug – sold under the brand name Aimovig – received a European license for people with migraine who suffer at least four times a month and who have tried three types of oral treatments.

Dr. David Bloomfield, CEO of the National Migraine Center in London, said: & We are sad. This removes hope and options for people who cannot find enlightenment.

& # 39; We hope that this decision will be revised over time as more data becomes available. & # 39; The National Migraine Center, which has used the drug privately for 200 patients last year, said 69 percent reported a better quality of life and 75 percent said they would recommend it.

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Headache specialist Dr. Katy Munro, who works at the center, said: & We see many desperate migraine sufferers who cannot finance this type of treatment. & # 39;

Professor Peter Goadsby, of King & College London, who developed the drug for 30 years, said: The decision appears to reflect a lack of concern and understanding for patients with migraine who would benefit from it. It leaves many patients in England and Wales trapped by a zip code lottery in a life dominated by this highly debilitating neurological disorder. & # 39;

In a statement, Nice said that erenumab accepted & is a clinically effective treatment & # 39 ;. However, it added: & # 39; For chronic migraine, there was no direct evidence to compare erenumab with Botox, which is considered current practice in the NHS in England. & # 39;

Haseeb Ahmad, British director of Novartis, said: & # 39; There remains an unmet need for effective and well-tolerated preventive migraine treatments in the UK. & # 39;

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