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Calls made to make Aimovig available on NHS

Friday 31st May 2019
An anti-migraine drug has been available in Scotland since April, but there are renewed calls for it to be provided on the NHS in England.
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According to the National Migraine Centre, one in seven people around the globe are affected by migraines, making it the third most common disease in the world. With 190,000 migraine attacks occurring each day in the UK, it is clear that any medical advances in this area could have a major benefit.

However, there is a drug that could help. Aimovig is injected into users once a month, and it has been found to reduce the frequency of migraines. Despite being available in Scotland since April, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has not recommended it for use on the NHS in England due to its cost.

Chronic migraine sufferers are now calling for NICE to change its decision after reports of it having a life-changing effect for some users. Talking to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, migraine-sufferer Nathan Gayle said: “When I have a migraine I can't see, any noise gives me excruciating pain, foreign smells hurt, light is a definite no-go, I get really dizzy and I can't stand up.”

As a result, he had to give up his job as a classroom assistant. "I was getting migraines so frequently and the intensity was so high that it wasn't fair on the school, the children I was working with or myself,” he added. "I have tried so many types of medications - I've not found anything that can stop it or prevent it. If Aimovig worked, it would change my life."

Aimovig - which is also known as Erenumab - works by blocking receptors of a protein called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). It is thought that CGRP attaching to and activating its receptors could be a cause of migraines. In some cases, this drug has resulted in the number of days each month in which chronic sufferers experience a migraine being cut in half.

Written by James Puckle

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