170,000 people in England to have further treatment choice for preventing migraine attacks.

In final draft guidance published today NICE has recommended atogepant, the first of a new type of oral treatment option for preventing both chronic and episodic migraines, opening the way for up to 170,000 people to choose it on the NHS in England.

Also called Aquipta and made by AbbVie, NICE has recommended atogepant as an option for preventing chronic and episodic migraines in adults who have had at least 4 migraine days per month and where at least 3 previous preventive treatments have failed.

Affecting around 4.5 million people in England, migraines can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life, as well as placing a heavy burden on the NHS and the wider economy.

Chronic migraine is where a person has at least 15 headache days a month, with at least 8 of those having features of migraine.

Episodic migraine is where a person has fewer than 15 headache days each month.

Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “Today’s final draft guidance demonstrates our commitment to focusing on what matters most and getting the best care to people while ensuring value for the taxpayer.

“Currently, the most effective options for people with chronic migraines who have already tried 3 preventative treatments are drugs that need to be injected. The committee heard from patient experts that some people cannot have injectable treatments, for example because they have an allergy or phobia of needles. So, some people with chronic migraines would welcome an oral treatment. Atogepant also offers more choice for people with episodic migraine.”

Health Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “Migraines affect millions of people in this country and this new treatment will help prevent recurring migraine attacks when other medicines have failed.

“It will allow more people whose daily life is affected by this painful, debilitating condition to manage their migraines more effectively and to live their lives to the fullest.”

Atogepant is taken as a tablet and works by blocking the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor in the body. CGRP is a protein found in the sensory nerves of the head and neck and causes blood vessels to dilate, which can lead to inflammation and migraine pain.

Today’s final draft guidance demonstrates our commitment to focusing on what matters most and getting the best care to people while ensuring value for the taxpayer.

Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE