Migraines could be stopped by simple jab after drug gets green light

The first ever drug designed to prevent a migraine has been approved for use in Europe.

Its manufacturer has now submitted the monthly injection for approval in the UK, where one in seven people suffer with migraines.

If successful it says the drug called Erenumab could be offered on the NHS as soon as next year.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted a licence for its use for patients who have at least four migraines a month.

Manufacturer Novartis said that patients will be able to get the drug privately in September.

Wendy Thomas, chief executive of The Migraine Trust, said: “We think this decision is wonderful as this new treatment has the potential to help many people with chronic and episodic migraine.

“Migraine is incredibly painful, and has symptoms that include vomiting and visual disturbance, so getting it frequently can literally ruin lives.

“That is why it is important that it becomes available to patients as soon as possible.”

Scientists know very little about what causes migraines which are the most common neurological disorder in Britain. There is currently no known cure only a handful of treatments to help ease symptoms.

Chronic migraines affect more than 600,000 people in the UK and can have a devastating effect on their quality of life.

Erenumab is designed to block the activity of a molecule called calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP, which has been shown to increase during migraine attacks.

Erenumab, also known as aimovig, could be the first of a new class of drugs that many scientists believe can stop the age old condition at its root.

Four pharmaceutical companies have been racing to complete advanced clinical trials of antibodies that target CGRP.

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The substance triggers sensitive reactions in the nerves in the face, head, jaw and alongside red blood cells that surround the brain. Researchers have been investigating drugs to stop CGRP by binding to it or blocking its receptors.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals have now submitted an application to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the drug which can be self-administered at home using an injector pen.

UK managing director Haseeb Ahmad said: “Erenumab is the first and only licensed treatment specifically designed to prevent migraine, demonstrating our commitment to developing innovative therapies for people living with some of the most debilitating conditions.”

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