Accessing treatment

Guidance on how to access migraine treatment that is not routinely funded by the NHS

pharmacist with medicineIn certain circumstances your doctor may recommend a treatment that is not routinely offered on the NHS.  This is more likely to happen if you have a rare form of migraine or other treatments have proved inappropriate or ineffective for you.

The NHS may not routinely offer a treatment if:

  • it is new and not yet approved by NICE* or the SMC**
  • it is requested to treat a condition that is not its normal use
  • it is licensed but not approved by NICE* or the SMC**
  • it is for very rare conditions/symptoms.

How to access treatments

If you and your doctor are considering trying a treatment for your migraine that is not routinely available on the NHS there are different routes you could explore to access this.  Follow the steps in our easy to use flow chart to find out more.

Accessing treatments not routinely offered by the NHS

Has your doctor recommended a treatment for your migraine that is not routinely offered on the NHS?

  • Yes

  • No/Unsure

* The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health.  NICE determines which drugs and treatments are available for patients on the NHS in England and Wales based on the evidence available regarding its’ effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness.

** The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) analyses information supplied by the medicine manufacturer on the health benefits of the medicine and justification of its price. It issues guidance and accepts for use those newly licensed medicines that clearly represent good value for money to NHS Scotland.


Further information

Asking for support

Our Advocacy Service can provide you with help to access the support you need form the health service, including help accessing treatments


Our treatments section has evidence-based information about treatments for migraine.  There are numerous migraine treatment options available from conventional medicines to supplements, herbs and other options.

For professionals

We also have information for health professionals to aid the diagnosis and management of migraine.

We’re campaigning on your behalf

The Migraine Trust is working to reduce the burden of migraine by working with patients, health professionals, the Government and other key parties. Our policy development work includes campaigning to improve diagnosis and treatment for patients.