5th December 2016

Chronic migraineurs call for more treatment options in Scotland

The Migraine Trust shares the concerns of patients to Scottish Medicines Consortium review of Botox

Scottish flagToday marks the deadline for patient group submissions to the Scottish Medicines Consortium’s (SMC) review of botulinum toxin type A (Botox) for people with chronic migraine in Scotland. The treatment is available on the NHS in England and Wales but has twice been rejected by the SMC.

The Migraine Trust canvassed opinion from our Scottish supporters, which formed the basis of our submission to the SMC and the press release below.  The SMC will make their final decision by February 2017.

Chronic migraine ‘despair’ sparks Botox plea

Blighted lives bring call for Scottish funding

Disturbing new evidence on lives blighted by chronic migraine today raises pressure on Scottish health chiefs to finance Botox treatment for the condition.

This comes from a leading charity amid the deadline for submissions to a Scottish Medicines Consortium review.

The SMC will reassess its guidance against Botox treatment cash for people who experience more than 15 headache days a month over a three-month period, of which over eight are migraines, without medication overuse.

The consortium has given cost effectiveness as the grounds for its stance.

But The Migraine Trust states that evidence from clinical trials shows Botox can benefit some people with chronic migraine and is licensed for treatment.

Already the NHS funds Botox treatment for chronic migraine in England and Wales, after guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence that its use may help prevent attacks.

Tens of thousands of people in Scotland experience the chronic form, the most disabling type of migraine.

And Scotland plays a significant part in the 25 million days lost each year through migraine from UK work or school, cutting Britain’s economic size by £2.5 billion.

Research conducted by The Migraine Trust reveals chronic migraine negatively affects people with it north of the border over their employment life and ability to work, besides their family life and social life.

It shows that chronic migraine harms work opportunities and career progress, with many people with it forced to give up work altogether.

People with chronic migraine point to anxiety, depression, social isolation and the inability to plan activities, due to unpredictable attacks.

It finds that people with migraine who benefit from Botox cite improvements in their ability to work and the quality of their lives.

The survey brought stark figures on the proportion of people hit by chronic migraine – employment life and ability to work (87.5%), family life (87.5%) and social life (94%).

Current treatment satisfies less than one in five (19%) people with chronic migraine in Scotland, with more than half (58%) dissatisfied.

Three in four (75%) people with chronic migraine have tried at least five medications or treatments. And nearly two in three (64%) people with it cite the cost of new treatment such as Botox, if unavailable in the NHS, as a deterrent against trying another potential remedy.

Arlene Wilkie, the charity’s Scottish-born chief executive, fears a bleak outlook for large numbers of people with chronic migraine north of the border if the consortium upholds its funding ban advice on Botox treatment that might help many of them.

Ms Wilkie said: “People living with this extremely debilitating and highly disabling chronic condition in Scotland deserve access to the best available treatment, in line with the rest of Britain.”

Notes to editors

  • Around one in seven people in Scotland get migraine.
  • Depression is three times more common in people with migraine or severe headaches than in healthy individuals.
  • Migraine, while more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma conbined, remains the least publicly-funded neurological illness, relative to its economic impact.
  • The Migraine Trust funds research, provides information and support, and campaigns for people affected by migraine in Britain.

Press contact: Please contact Paul Collins (Press Office, The Migraine Trust) via our contact form.

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