Watchdog organization the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency announced that sumatriptan, better known as its brand name of Imigran Recovery, will now be available over the counter in the UK. This marks the first time that a migraine drug will be available over the counter within the UK.
The migraine drug belongs to the category of triptans and is meant to treat acute migraine attacks by treating the actual cause of the migraine instead of simply helping alleviate the symptoms. It will be officially on shelves at the chemists starting in the middle of June.
It is estimated that about 15% of people in the UK suffer from migraines on an occasional basis out of which about 66% of those are women. The average migraine attack can last anywhere from four hours up to three days. There are many triggers that can cause a migraine including cheese, coffee, hormones, emotional stress, and physical stress.
Out of those that suffer from migraines about 60% depend on OTC medications for relief, but the current OTC medications only help reduce the presence of symptoms without actually treating the actual migraine therefore when the medication wears off they are often still in pain.
Chemists will have to follow a strict set of rules when selling the drugs that retail at £7.99 to make sure they are being used safely. Chief executive of the MHRA and Professor Kent Woods stated that Imigran Recovery will be sold under controlled circumstances to allow patients quick access to the medication in a safe way.
He added that triptans like Imigran Recovery should be taken as quickly as possible after the onset of a migraine attack in order to be the most beneficial to patients. He added that this will be a great option for those who have infrequent attacks that do not have medication at home to treat their migraine.