8th April 2019

First preventive medication dedicated to treating migraine now available within NHS Scotland

Accepted for the treatment of adults with chronic migraine

We welcome today’s announcement by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) that Aimovig (erenumab) has been accepted for restricted use within NHS Scotland for the treatment of adults with chronic migraine.

Aimovig is one of a new generation of migraine treatments, the first preventive medication that is dedicated to treating the condition.

Today’s decision means that eligible patients will be able to access the drug on the NHS in Scotland. The drug is manufactured by Novartis.

About the new drug and how it can be used

  • Aimovig is a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitor.
  • The drug’s use will be restricted to patients with ‘chronic migraine’, that means for patients who have fifteen or more headache days a month, of which at least eight are migraine.
  • Patients will be eligible to use the drug when at least three prior preventive treatments have failed.
  • People with migraine who qualify under these criteria should speak to their healthcare professional. If their healthcare professional thinks that Aimovig is the right medication for them, they can now be given the treatment by prescription on the NHS in Scotland.

Further availability

The SMC acceptance follows a draft rejection of Aimovig for routine NHS use in England by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in January 2019.  The NICE appraisal of Aimovig is ongoing, with final guidance expected to be published in the second quarter of 2019.

We hope that NICE will follow the SMC’s lead and approve Aimovig for use in the treatment of migraine. We think NICE should make Aimovig available to people who have ten or more migraine or headache days a month – so called ‘high frequency episodic migraine’.

Welcoming the SMC announcement, Gus Baldwin, Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust, said:

“This is an important milestone for migraine treatment.

“Despite being an extremely painful and debilitating condition that is highly prevalent, people with migraine have so far only been able to take preventive treatments that were designed for other conditions.

“We know these new generation of migraine drugs are effective and we’re delighted that Aimovig will now be available to people in Scotland with chronic migraine on the NHS.  It is important that we say thank you to the SMC on behalf of patients.

“It’s a sad reality that migraine is ruining far too many lives across the UK and this announcement will provide new hope for patients everywhere.  We hope that these new generation of drugs will be available on the NHS across the UK as soon as possible.”