Breakthrough migraine prevention treatment approved in Europe


Novartis’ Aimovig (erenumab) has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) making it first self-administered, monthly migraine prevention jab available for adult patients in Europe.

The first novel migraine treatment to hit the market in over 20 years will be available privately within the next few weeks for patients with at least four migraine attacks a month, after European health officials granted it a licence.

Extensive clinical trials proved Aimovig’s capability to significantly reduce the number of migraine days per month even in a difficult-to-treat population.

Aimovig is the only calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor (CGRP-R) pathway therapy available for migraine sufferers and works by blocking the receptor responsible for transmitting pain and nausea symptoms associated with migraines.

The new treatment will be available as a SureClick autoinjector pen, an established device commonly used by Novartis for a range of different conditions, allowing self-administration into the thigh or abdomen every four weeks.

Peter Goadsby, director of NIHR-Wellcome Trust King's Clinical Research Facility and professor of Neurology at King's College London, commented: "Erenumab heralds a new era in clinical practice, bringing both a targeted mechanism for prevention and a deep understanding of migraine, which we have never had before."

"We will see sustained relief from migraine for many of those who suffer with this debilitating disease."

Migraine is a complex neurological condition triggered by enormous number of factors affecting each individual differently. It is estimated that one in seven people in the UK suffers from at least 13 migraine attacks a year.

Novartis says it is now working closely with local regulators in 28 European countries to ensure eligible patients can start benefiting from this treatment as quickly as possible.

The UK price for the treatment has not been announced as yet, but its list cost in the US is $575 per injection or $6,900 annually.

The new treatment is currently only available privately but there is hope it will become more widely available next year. Initial decisions from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Medicine Consortium (SMC) are expected in 2019.

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Piotr Wnuk