Galcanezumab approved for use within NHS Scotland

Approval highlights need for access to new class of migraine medication

12th April 2021

We welcome today’s announcement by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) that galcanezumab (Emgality) has been accepted for restricted use within NHS Scotland for the treatment of adults with chronic and episodic migraine.

Galcanezumab, which is manufactured by Eli Lilly, is one of a new generation of migraine treatments, the first preventive medication that is dedicated to treating the condition. This new class of drugs works by inhibiting a small protein found in nerve cells called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which is believed to be involved in causing the pain in migraine attacks.

Growing availability of CGRP antibody medication

Two other medications in this group, erenumab (Aimovig) and fremanezumab (Ajovy) have already been approved by NHS Scotland to treat migraine. Erenumab has been approved to treat chronic migraine, and fremanezumab has been approved to treat both chronic and episodic migraine.

Galcanezumab was approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to treat chronic and episodic migraine within NHS England last year, and is also available on the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Migraine Trust has emphasised the need for access to this new class of medication.

“We took part in the SMC appraisal process for galcanezumab and emphasised the need for new and effective treatments for people with migraine, a painful and debilitating condition. Now that it has been approved by the SMC, we would like to see it quickly available to those who are eligible for it. We are aware that many eligible patients in Scotland are struggling to access the two currently available CGRP antibody medications, and it’s vital that access is improved if we are to see a reduction in the debilitating impact that migraine causes.”

Rob Music, Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust

Accessing CGRP antibody medication

Erenumab, fremanezumab, and now galcanezumab, should be available from your local headache or neurology services.

If you are having difficulties accessing treatment speak to your Headache Specialist or neurologist. If you think you meet the criteria for them and are not currently under a Headache Specialist or neurologist speak to your GP about a referral.

You can also contact the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) for more information around accessing treatment as they can also help with complaints.