‘Life-changing’ migraine pill which halves the number of agonising attacks could be available in the UK by Christmas | The Sun
A NEW pill which can halve the number of agonising migraines experienced by sufferers could soon be available in the UK.
Trials have found atogepant, which is taken once a day, to be twice as effective as treatments currently available in Britain.
Experts have hailed the drug as potentially "life-changing" for the millions of people who regularly experience the throbbing headaches.
Professor Peter Goadsby, honorary consultant neurologist at King’s College Hospital in London, said: "Many patients struggle for years to find an effective treatment.
"During this time, many are resigned to living with the debilitating effects of migraine; it shouldn’t be this way."
Atogepant is already used in the US and was approved for EU use last month.
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It has now received authorisation from the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and is awaiting sign-off from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Once given the green light, which could be as early as Christmas this year, the tablets could become a staple in British medicine cabinets.
Atogepant belongs to a new class of medication called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonists, or gepants.
It works to block a protein shown to increase during migraines.
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Studies have found the drug to significantly reduce attacks over a three-month period, sometimes by up to 50 per cent.
Sufferers went from experiencing an average of eight days plagued by headaches per month to just four.
It meant atogepant was essentially twice as effective as rimegepant, currently used to treat the condition.
A migraine tends to feel like a very bad headache, with a throbbing pain on one side, according to the NHS.
The Migraine Trust estimates that around 10million UK adults are affected, with many experiencing between four and 14 attacks a month.
These can last between two and 72 hours.
Most patients rely on painkillers to dull the agony, or prescription medicines which can shorten the length of attacks.
Rimegepant, a CGRP treatment, is available on the NHS in England and Scotland as a preventative and cute measure respectively.
Atogepant will hopefully soon be another preventative option for those who experience four or more migraine days a month but for whom three other treatments have failed.
Rob Music, chief executive at The Migraine Trust, said: "For too many years people living with migraine struggled to find a treatment that works for them.
"Migraine attacks can have a huge impact on ability to carry out day to day activities and have a detrimental impact on mental health.
"We hope to see atogepant offered on the NHS soon to ensure those who are eligible have the opportunity to benefit from this treatment."
Belinda Byrne, medical director at pharmaceutical company AbbVie UK, which produces the drug, added: "There is a common misconception that migraine is ‘just a headache,’ but for many patients, migraine has a devastating impact on their everyday life.
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"AbbVie is committed to advancing the standards of care for people living with migraine and we are delighted that the MHRA has provided marketing authorisation for this new medication.
"We are currently working with the regulatory authorities to bring this potential treatment to eligible patients as soon as possible."
What is migraine?
MIGRAINE is a severe and painful long-term health condition which causes migraine attacks.
Common symptoms include:
- Head pain
- Problems with your sight, such as seeing flashing lights
- Being very sensitive to light, sounds and smells
- Feeling and being sick
Attacks affect people differently, but sufferers often cannot function normally during these episodes.
They can last between two hours and three days.
The most common types of migraine fall into two categories:
- Without aura (no warning signs)
- With aura (with warning signs, such as blind spots, seeing flashing lights, numbness or pins and needles, feeling dizzy or off balance)
Treatment usually involves painkillers and anti-sickness medication.
Lifestyle changes, like altering your routine or sleeping pattern, can also help.
If someone is having more than four attacks a month, they can be prescribed preventative treatment, such as calcitonin gene-related peptide antibodies (CGRP).
Source: The Migraine Trust
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