A revolutionary new treatment for migraine that can help as many as 60 per cent of sufferers isn’t reaching those in need, according to the National Migraine Centre charity. Nine million people in the UK have migraine, which impacts three times as many women as men. Yet 94 per cent of those affected haven’t even heard of the new drugs – and many of those who have can’t access them through the NHS.
A new survey conducted by the charity shows that anti-CGRPs, the world’s first drugs specifically designed to prevent migraine, greatly reduce both the severity of migraine pain (1) and the number of attacks (2).
Around 14 per cent of the UK population suffers with migraine, more than all those living with asthma, diabetes and epilepsy combined.
The National Migraine Centre has found:
- 82 per cent of those with migraine reported it interfered with work or education
- 50 per cent of those affected often had to stay at home because of attacks
- 51 per cent of those surveyed experienced stress or depression that was worsened by migraine
- 18 per cent had experienced suicidal feelings caused by migraine
- 16 per cent spent time unemployed because of migraine
- 11 per cent were forced to change jobs
- 19 per cent took lower paid or less responsible work
Anti-CGRPs, which block a protein involved in pain transmission, can greatly reduce the impact of migraine, yet access via the NHS remains extremely limited. GPs are unable to prescribe the drugs and patients generally won’t be considered for treatment at a hospital or specialist clinic unless they have more than 15 days with headache each month and have tried, under supervision, at least three other medications first. Even then, patients will often spend years on waiting lists.
The National Migraine Centre charity is launching a campaign to make anti-CGRPs available to all those who could benefit, right across the UK. The charity will be offering not-for-profit access to GP headache specialists who can prescribe anti-CGRPs via telephone and video consultations. Appointments can be booked directly through the charity’s website without a GP referral.
Leading GP headache specialist and bestselling migraine author Dr Katy Munro said:
‘Anti-CGRP medications, which can be taken orally or by injection, are a huge breakthrough in the treatment of migraine. Most patients benefit, and around a third of those I see describe the treatment as life-changing. They’re generally very well tolerated with few side effects.
‘It’s shocking, then, that only six per cent of those affected by this neurological condition even know they exist. People with migraine are too often unaware of the many treatment strategies available now.
‘At the National Migraine Centre, part of my work is to offer these drugs to as many people who could benefit as possible. Frequent, recurrent migraine attacks can ruin lives – but we now have many tools to help people control and manage this disabling condition.’
Joanne Acampora received anti-CGRP treatment and described her experience:
‘Migraine dominated so much of my life. At its worst, I would have three to four days a week when I was unable to leave the house. Finally, I had to quit the job I loved because my migraine made it impossible for me to carry on. My quality of life got worse and worse, which made me depressed.
‘Anti-CGRP treatment has been an absolute game-changer for me. The severity of my attacks has reduced significantly and the frequency as well. It’s like I have a life again and I can actually do things, spending time with friends and family. Finally, I feel in control.’
To make an appointment to access anti-CGRPs, visit www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk.