Adults in England and Wales with acute migraines will now have access to a new treatment after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommended Pfizer’s Vydura for use on the NHS.

In May, NICE recommended the drug – with the generic name rimegepant – for the prevention of migraines. At the time, NICE said up to 145,000 people would benefit from the treatment, though the drug was only permitted for use as a fourth-line treatment option.

As per the most recent draft guidance, the drug has now been recommended for adults who do not respond to two previous migraine medicines, called triptans. 

Although this means Vydura is still not recommended for primary use, the move will help an additional 13,000 people access the treatment, NICE said.

Patients who do not benefit from taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or paracetamol have also been endorsed to take the treatment in the guidance.

The final guidance is expected in October, according to NICE.

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By GlobalData

Vydura was approved by the European Union for the treatment and prevention of acute migraine attacks in 2022. It was already approved for both indications in the US by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and marketed as the drug Nurtec.

Originally developed by Biohaven, rights to the drug were acquired by Pfizer when the pharma giant acquired the company in a $11.6bn deal.

It is placed under the tongue where it dissolves, releasing its active substance rimegepant. The drug works by blocking the receptors for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) – a chemical messenger that contributes to the development of migraine.

A sales forecast by GlobalData predicts Vydura will hit $3.3bn in annual sales globally by 2029.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

NICE medicines evaluation director Helen Knight said: “This is the first and only NICE-recommended medicine that can help alleviate the misery of acute migraines and may be considered a step-change in treatment.

“Today’s final draft guidance addresses the high unmet need for treatment options for acute migraine, once again demonstrating our ability to ensure clinically and cost-effective medicines are available to those who need them as quickly as possible.”