Current Edition

NICE recommends Pfizer’s rimegepant for preventing episodic migraine attacks

The final draft guidance recommends rimegepant for adults who have at least four migraine attacks per month, but less than 15.

The National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) has announced that it has recommended an oral treatment for the prevention of episodic migraines for the first time, leading to a new treatment option for around 145,000 patients accessing NHS England.

Pfizer’s rimegepant (Vydura) is designed as a wafer that dissolves when placed under the tongue and works by stopping the release of a protein around the brain that is responsible for the pain associated with migraines. It is recommended for people who have at least four migraine attacks per month, but less than 15.

Current treatment options include beta blockers, antidepressants and epilepsy medication, all of which are used for other conditions. These frequently cause significant side effects and can be ineffective for some patients. Treatments offered after these are NICE-recommended injections erenumab, fremanezumab, or galcanezumab.

Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “Each year the lives of millions of people in England are blighted by migraine attacks. They can be extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. In comments received during consultation on the previous draft guidance, patients and carers described migraine as an invisible disability that affects all aspects of life including family, social activities, mental health, finances and education. Rimegepant is the first oral treatment for migraine to be recommended by NICE and for many thousands of people it is likely to be a welcome and more convenient addition to existing options for a condition that is often overlooked and undertreated. Today’s draft guidance demonstrates our commitment to focusing on what matters most and getting the best care to people while ensuring value for the taxpayer.”