New preventive drug for migraines approved by NICE – ‘It’s a really big deal,’ says expert

Migraines: Peter Goadsby discusses preventive drugs

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Said to have a genetic disposition by Professor Peter Goadsby – who works at the prestigious King’s College London (KCL) – sufferers are likely to have put up with the condition since they were young. Now, new preventative drugs have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the NHS’s approval body. Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Professor Goadsby detailed the groundbreaking new research.

These drugs “block something called CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide)”, said Professor Goadsby.

“These are entirely novel preventatives,” he continued. “They’re a really big deal.”

Professor Goadsby added: “They’re the first time we’ve had a drug that we know how it works and it’s specifically designed for migraines.”


The NHS pointed out that migraines cause moderate to severe throbbing pain on one side of the head.

Migraines can be accompanied by feelings of nausea, as well as increased sensitivity to light or sound.

The condition tends to affect more women than men, with every one in five women in the UK reported to suffer from migraines.

Meanwhile, one in 15 men are also reported to suffer from painful migraines.

Three types of migraines:

  1. Migraine with aura
  2. Migraine without aura
  3. Migraine aura without headache.

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Migraines with auras

One in three people with migraines will experience temporary warning signs before the onset of a migraine.

Any of the following symptoms before a migraine are classified as migraine with aura:

  • Visual problems, such as seeing flashing lights, zig-zag patterns or blind spots
  • Numbness or a tingling sensation like pins and needles, which usually starts in one hand and moves up your arm before affecting your face, lips and tongue
  • Feeling dizzy or off balance
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Loss of consciousness, although this is unusual.

Aura symptoms can develop over five minutes and can linger for up to an hour.

“Some people may experience aura followed by only a mild headache or no headache at all,” added the NHS.

Some people may experience additional symptoms on top of a migraine, such as:

  • Sweating
  • Poor concentration
  • Feeling very hot or very cold
  • Tummy (abdominal) pain
  • Diarrhoea.

“The symptoms of a migraine usually last between four hours and three days,” added the national health service.

“Although you may feel very tired for up to a week afterwards,” the NHS added.

Evidently, experiencing migraines can have a great impact on a person’s quality of life.

GPs are able to prescribe medication to help manage migraines, so if yours are particularly bad, it’s worth speaking to your doctor.

Over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen, are also recommended by the NHS.

“They tend to be most effective if taken at the first signs of a migraine attack,” the national health service added.

“As this gives them time to absorb into your bloodstream and ease your symptoms.”

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