A MIGRAINE drug described as “life change” by some patients has been approved for use by the NHS in Scotland.
Thousands of patients will benefit after the Scotland Drug Consortium (SMC) agreed that fremanezumab has taken into account the benefits of a “confidential discount” which, he said, improved the profitability of the drug produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Fremanezumab, which is marketed as Ajovy, is one of a new class of medications that works by attacking a small protein found in nerve cells called a peptide related to the calcitonin gene (CGRP), which is believed to be involved in causing migraine pain attacks
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It is part of a revolution in the treatment of migraine that benefits patients who have historically had, until recently, few treatment options for what can be a debilitating chronic disease.
The SMC also approved the use of abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) for use by the NHS Scotland to help extend the lives of people with advanced prostate cancer. In Scotland, about 3,500 men are diagnosed each year with cancer.
Treatment can extend survival times for incurable disease, compared to the use of hormone therapy alone. The president of SMC, Dr. Alan MacDonald, said: “From the evidence provided by patient groups, we know that our decision on fremanezumab will be well received by those who suffer from migraine who have not responded to previous treatments.”
The movement to approve fremanezuma has been well received by The Migraine Trust, which said Scotland has become the only nation in the United Kingdom where ‘CGRP inhibitors’ have been approved to treat the condition in the NHS.
The Trust said that fremanezumab is the first preventive medication dedicated to migraine that will be available to treat chronic and episodic migraine, “thus expanding its availability to many more people living with migraine.”
The Trust presented new evidence on the effectiveness and impact of ‘CGRP inhibitors’ during the SMC evaluation process for fremanezumab.
Teva produced a video to help patients understand what causes migraines and how treatment with fremanezumab works.
The new evidence included the findings of our recent survey of more than 200 patients with chronic migraine who have recently been treated with a CGRP drug.
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The survey found that the use of a CGRP drug improved the lives of 80% of respondents, and many said it was “a change of life” for them.
Gus Baldwin, executive director of Trust, said: “This is wonderful news for the many people in Scotland who live with migraine.
“Not only is it an extremely painful and debilitating brain disease, but it also significantly affects many aspects of the lives of migraine sufferers.”
“Our research has found that this easy-to-use treatment prevents migraine attacks for many and significantly improves their quality of life.”
“However, this means that the national disparity in migraine treatment options increases. It does not seem fair that access to life-changing migraine medications in the UK depends on your zip code, and I hope this situation be rectified in the near future. ” ”
Teva said it could help some of the approximately 740,000 Scottish migraine patients, those with chronic and episodic migraine who have had previous failures in three or more preventive treatments.
The SMC documents say there would be 13,886 patients with episodic migraine eligible for the annual treatment of £ 5,400 per patient per year, with another 6,527 patients with chronic migraine.
Chronic migraine is defined as more than 15 days of headache per month, of which more than eight involve migraine symptoms. Patients with episodic migraine have 0 to 14 days of headache per month.
According to the 2016 Scottish study on the burden of morbidity, migraine is the seventh most common cause of disease burden in Scotland, and in all age groups women experienced a greater proportion of migraine burden than men.
According to the Migraine Trust, it is the third most common condition in the world and has a significant financial burden for the UK economy, “conservatively estimated” at £ 3.42 billion per year.
I am delighted that SMC has approved the use of fremanezumab in Scotland, ”said Dr. David Watson, a GP who specializes in headaches who also works in the neurology department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. “Clinical trials show that it can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine and have a significant impact on patients with migraine disability. As a practicing doctor, it is very useful to have more options to treat migraine patients.
In April, the SMC approved another erenumab drug (Aimovig) produced by Novartis only for chronic patients, but was rejected for use in the rest of the United Kingdom. The National Institute of Excellence in Health and Care (NICE) confirmed the decision to refuse the drug of £ 5,000 per patient per year for England and Wales on the grounds that it was not profitable.
Migraine is a neurological disorder characterized by disabling attacks of moderate to severe stabbing headache, which may be associated with nausea and vomiting and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. It is often serious enough to charge a high price on someone’s ability to work, interact with others and perform the tasks of daily life.
A recent survey conducted by the Japanese Headache Society of more than 2,400 workers from the Tokyo-based IT company Fujitsu found that the productivity of one employee in five was affected by migraine, at an estimated cost to the company of almost 150,000 employees of 270 million pounds a year. .
To treat a migraine attack, doctors have long relied on medications called triptans that act as the chemical serotonin of the nervous system to attack the nerves that transmit pain signals.
“Teva is very satisfied with the SMC decision, as we seek to expand the availability of fremanezumab throughout the United Kingdom in an effort to ensure that patients living with migraine have access to this treatment option,” said Kim Innes, manager General of Teva in the United Kingdom and Ireland. .
“I believe that the introduction of fremanezumab in Scotland, having been accepted by the SMC for the prevention of chronic and episodic migraine, and with its flexible dosage options, will bring new opportunities and allow better days for those struggling to control this disabling condition. ” ”
The SMC also approved the use of two other medications for routine use in the NHS of Scotland: ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) for early primary progressive multiple sclerosis and Brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) for white blood cell cancer.