Current issues and challenges in New Zealand
Access to triptans
Triptans are abortive medications that can be taken by mouth, nasal spray or injection to treat a migraine attack. They were the first abortive medications developed specifically for migraine.
There are currently seven triptans available globally to treat a migraine attack, including five short-acting, one medium-acting and one long-acting. This gives people a range of options to help abort a migraine attack, as different triptans may be more or less effective for an individual, or have different side effects.
But in New Zealand
Only two triptans are funded and available in New Zealand. Both are short-acting. If neither of these medications are effective, there are no other migraine-specific abortive medications available for people in New Zealand to try.
In March 2022, after languishing on Pharmac’s application list for nearly 10 years, additional triptans including frovatriptan, naratriptan and zolmitriptan were declined for Pharmac funding.