The NHS is reviewing a £19,000-a-year pill recommended by Khloe Kardashian that stops migraines in their tracks

The NHS is reviewing a £19,000-a-year pill recommended by Khloe Kardashian that stops migraines in their tracks

  • The Rimegepant pill is available in the US, where it costs patients £19,000 a year
  • Health watchdog NICE is considering approving the new drug for use in the spring
  • Experts say the drug is more convenient than the current self-injection regimen

Millions of NHS patients suffering from debilitating migraine attacks could soon benefit from a pill that prevents them before they have a chance to strike.

The pill, taken every other day, could be approved for use next spring, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Experts say it’s far more convenient than the current gold standard treatment of monthly self-injections.

The pill, called Rimegepant, blocks activation of a protein in the brain that is known to trigger migraine attacks. Studies show it can cut the frequency of moderate to severe headaches in half. It is also effective in relieving migraines when taken minutes after it begins.

The pill, taken every other day, could be approved for use next spring, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The drug is called Rimegepant and is endorsed by Khloe Kardashian.  It costs American patients £19,000 a year but experts predict the drug's maker, Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, will give the NHS a hefty discount

The drug is called Rimegepant and is endorsed by Khloe Kardashian. It costs American patients £19,000 a year but experts predict the drug’s maker – Biohaven Pharmaceuticals – will give the NHS a hefty discount

The drug – recommended by reality star and migraine sufferer Khloe Kardashian – is approved in the EU. The UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), gave the go-ahead for use back in July.

Insiders have told The Mail on Sunday that the drug will be available to patients at private UK clinics this month. NICE will decide by March whether it is cost effective for use by the NHS.

The pill is estimated to cost patients £19,000 a year in the US, but experts predict the drug’s maker – Biohaven Pharmaceuticals – will give the NHS a hefty discount.

dr Brendan Davies, consultant neurologist at North Midlands NHS Trust University Hospitals in Stoke, described the drug as life-changing. He says: “Migraines are an underestimated condition that has historically been difficult to treat. The impact on people’s lives can be debilitating. Some lose their jobs because they are forced to stay in bed several days a week.

“But Rimegepant adds another useful option that will be especially welcome for those suffering from needle phobia.”

Around 10 million people in the UK suffer from migraines – throbbing headaches on one side of the head. Attacks can include a variety of symptoms, such as: B. Sensitivity to light, nausea and seeing flashing lights. They are thought to be triggered by nerves and blood vessels at the front of the brain releasing excessive amounts of a protein called calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. This is responsible for the transmission of vital signals between the brain cells.

Current migraine treatments include over-the-counter pain relievers and pills — triptans — that help interrupt pain signals. While these can relieve symptoms once migraines set in, they cannot prevent them.

They also cause drowsiness and further headaches if taken too often and cannot be used by people with a history of strokes and heart attacks.

Most migraine prevention treatments were developed for other conditions and often come with serious side effects. These include beta blockers and antidepressants, both of which also cause drowsiness.

In the past two years, health chiefs have approved several other CGRP-inhibiting drugs — erenumab, galcanezumab, and fremanezumab — to be taken as monthly injections. These vaccinations prevent migraines and relieve the symptoms. They also have fewer side effects than previous options, with only about two percent of patients reporting nausea.

While rimegepant will be the first CGRP inhibitor tablet to be made available in the UK, experts have raised concerns about whether patients will be able to access it.

Last July, The Mail on Sunday revealed that thousands of migraine sufferers were being denied vaccinations.

Activists blamed in part the strict criteria patients must meet to qualify, including failing three medications and suffering from migraines at least 15 days a month.

“We are concerned that anti-CGRPs are still not reaching those who need them through the NHS,” says Dan Tickle of the National Migraine Centre. “There are many patients who have to wait months to get them. Patients should not be afraid to request vaccinations from their GP or contact the National Migraine Center.’

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