A New Migraine Drug Is Coming To England, Here’s How To Get It

Atogepant wil be the first oral treatment for chronic and episodic migraines.

According to The National Institute for Health and Care Experience (NICE), It is estimated that there are 190,000 migraine attacks experienced every day in England and 6 million people suffer with migraines in the UK.

Until now, initial treatment options have mostly been limited to painkillers, triptans and anti-nausea medication, according to the NHS.

However, NICE has now recommended a new drug called atogepant, after clinical trials revealed that it was effective in some adults.

In its final draft guidance, NICE said atogepant should be offered to people who had unsuccessfully tried three other medications, many of which need to be taken by injection or infusion.

Who will be able to access this new migraine medication and where will they find it?

According to the BBC, this drug is designed to be taken daily to both prevent chronic migraines and episodic migraines.

At first, it’s expected to be available from specialist doctors in secondary care settings, rather than from GPs but migraine charities are nonetheless excited about what this could mean for future migraine care.

Rob Music, chief executive of the Migraine Trust said to the BBC: “It is positive to see even more therapies emerging for people with migraine, as many still rely on treatments developed for other conditions.”

However, he urged that access must be “swift” so that migraine patients can benefit from them as soon as possible as many GPs have a lack of knowledge around migraines and waiting lists to see specialists tend to be long.

What are the symptoms of a migraine?

According to the NHS, a migraine tends to be a very bad headache with a throbbing pain on one side of the head.

You may get other symptoms just before a migraine, such as:

  • feeling very tired and yawning a lot
  • craving certain foods or feeling thirsty
  • changes in your mood
  • a stiff neck
  • peeing more

You may also get warning signs you’re about to have a migraine (called an aura), such as:

  • problems with your sight, such as seeing zigzag lines or flashing lights
  • numbness or a tingling that feels like pins and needles
  • feeling dizzy
  • difficulty speaking

The NHS added that aura symptoms should not last for longer than an hour.