The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Teva’s Ajovy for the prophylaxis of migraine in adults with chronic migraine who have not responded to at least three prior preventive treatments.
The decision means that the anti-CGRP preventive therapy is the first of-its-kind to be recommended by NICE, offering monthly or quarterly dosing options, with the choice to self-inject once patients are trained.
NICE's choice to approve the use of Ajovy on the NHS for patients with chronic migraine is “fantastic news,” commented Dr Mark Weatherall, president of the British Association for the Study of Headache. “Anyone who looks after people with chronic migraine understands just how debilitating this neurological disorder can be.
“We have waited a long time for this new class of drug to be made available in the NHS, but now that we can prescribe fremanezumab, I am excited to see what a difference it will make to the lives of many of my worst affected patients.”
As it stands, migraine prevention therapies in England and Wales are currently limited and none of the commonly used treatments - anti-epileptics, anti-depressants, beta blockers and botulinum toxin injections - were developed specifically to target the molecular pathways of migraine.
Migraine remains under-diagnosed and under-treated in at least half of all patients. Less than half of people with migraine consult a doctor, and less than 30% of migraine patients have management of their condition. It typically presents as a moderate to severe headache, often accompanied by nausea or vomiting, with sensitivity to noise, light or smell.
Last year, Teva also received European Commission approval for the drug, based on two pivotal Phase III clinical trials, in which many patients on the treatment experienced significant reductions of at least 50% in the number of monthly migraine days with reduction observed as early as week one.
One in seven UK adults are affected by migraine (over 7.2 million people) and women are three times more likely to be affected than men.