Migraines: the remedy exists… but it is not reimbursed

To this very common pain, a remedy that is much less so. Headache is one of the most common ailments, since half of the world’s population suffers from it every year. According to figures published Tuesday by The Journal of Headache And Pain, 26% would describe a tension headache, 14%, a migraine and 4.6%, recurring headaches at least 15 days a month…

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), who compiled data from 357 studies published between 1961 and 2020, estimate that, every day, 15.8% of humanity suffers from it. That’s almost one person in six!

How to fight against this scourge? For temporary headaches, an aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen tablet is usually enough to take the pain away. When the discomfort becomes chronic and quickly unbearable because it is very repetitive, we then speak of a migraine which often comes to handicap the daily life of those who suffer from it. Drugs, baptized triptans, specially designed to “break” migraine attacks, then come to the rescue, but these molecules, which reduce the dilation and inflammation of the blood vessels at the origin of the pain, cannot be administered to patients suffering from already have vascular problems.

300 euros per injection

All the hopes of migraine sufferers, whose holy grail is first to prevent the onset of attacks rather than to treat them once the evil has appeared, are now focused on a new preventive treatment administered by subcutaneous injection. The Emgality, that’s its name, manufactured by the Eli Lilly laboratory, has been used successfully for several years in Australia, the United States, or even in Belgium, Germany or Spain.

Available in France for a few months, it uses antibodies with the ability to block the protein responsible for pain. Its effectiveness remains to be improved since only a third of migraine sufferers respond favorably to its effects and are rid of any onset of crisis. But, that’s the problem, the Emgality is not reimbursed by health insurance. At around 300 euros per injection every 28 days, very few patients can afford it.

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