A life-changing drug that prevents migraines is now available

13 March 2020, 16:17 | Updated: 13 March 2020, 16:21

Migraines affect over 6 million people in the UK currently.
Migraines affect over 6 million people in the UK currently. . Picture: Getty Images

By Sophie Thompson

Up to 10,000 chronic migraine sufferers will be able to have access to the drug on the NHS, and trial patients have already commented on its 'life-changing' results.

Migraine sufferers, rejoice! A new drug has officially been approved to treat the condition that affects over six million people in the UK.

If you've fallen victim to the chronic headaches that frankly leave you needing to lie in a dark room, you'll know that the treatments currently available aren't exactly the most effective and aren't specific to the condition, including prescribed anti-depressants, epilepsy medication and beta blockers.

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The new drug, available in a monthly injection, will be available to up to 10,000 adult patients initially, and you must have previously tried three of the other available treatments.

The treatment is called fremanezumab (don't worry, we can't pronounce it either), and works to prevent migraines themselves rather than just the symptoms. It costs around £5,000 a year but will be readily available for free on the NHS for UK patients.

Chronic migraines count as 15 or more headache days per month, with eight of those days being consumed by migraines - and while experts aren't sure exactly what causes them, they're thought to be the result of temporary chemical changes in our brains' chemicals, causing blood vessels to swell.

Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust Gus Baldwin said in a statement: "We are delighted that for the first time chronic migraine patients will be able to access an effective drug on the NHS that has specifically been designed to prevent migraine attacks."

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He continued: "Migraine is a painful, debilitating and exhausting brain disease and it is vital that people living with this awful condition have access to the best treatments available.

"We would like to thank NICE for listening to the voices of chronic migraine patients, who have been united in their call to be allowed access to this drug on the NHS. Many people we spoke to told us this drug had been 'life-changing' for them."

Patients who were trialled on the new self-administered drug have already described the effects as improving their quality of life 'beyond recognition' - so here's to more migraine-free years for sufferers.