KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 – The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) has refused to pay for a “life-changing” migraine drug outside of Scotland.
Erenumab — also known by the name Aimovig — is one of the first migraine drugs in decades and has been described by doctors as a “huge deal”.
Current drugs to prevent migraine are former epilepsy or heart failure medicines or the anti-wrinkle drug Botox, all of which may be ineffective for some migraine patients.
Erenumab different is specifically designed for preventing migraine, using antibodies to alter the activity of chemicals in the brain that are involved in both pain and sensitivity to sound and light that comes with migraine.
Trials showed Erenumab more than halved the number of migraines each month for around a third of hard-to-treat patients.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium approved the drug for use in patients with chronic migraine when other treatments had failed.
But the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which evaluates medicines and treatments that should be funded by the UK’s NHS, has rejected the drug.
NICE, on its website, said that there was “substantial uncertainty in the evidence for the clinical and cost effectiveness of Erenumab”.
“This drug is not a panacea, but it is an important advance in the scientific treatment of migraine, which effects huge improvements in the lives of many of those who take it,” British Association for the Study of Headache Council’s chairman Dr Mark Weatherall said to BBC.
“It is completely unacceptable that patients in England and Wales who suffer with such a debilitating neurological disorder should be denied access to effective treatment.”