For many, migraine attacks, which are moderate to severe headaches categorized by feelings of intense pulsing or throbbing and symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light and/or sound, are a debilitating condition that affect the quality of life. However, thanks to new medications and treatments, those suffering from migraines have even more options for finding relief.
The medication rimegepant, known by the brand name Nurtec ODT, was initially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020 for the acute treatment of migraine. In 2021, it was approved on an every other day schedule for the prevention of migraines. It is the only medication that has been formally approved to acutely treat and prevent migraines. “The fact that this medication can prevent and treat migraines is quite important,” says Stewart J. Tepper, MD, co-director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Headache Center. “Patients interested in rimegepant will need to check with their insurance company to see if it is covered.”
Similar to rimegepant, ubrogepant (brand name Ubrelvy) is another FDA-approved medication that acutely treats migraines.
Injectable medications that block a protein that causes migraines (known as anti-CGRP medications), such as erenumab (brand name Aimovig), fremanezumab (brand name Ajovy), galcanezumab (brand name Emgality) and eptinezumab (brand name Vyepti), are other promising options for managing migraine symptoms.
OnabotulinumtoxinA, also known as Botox, requires patients with chronic migraines to be injected in the office quarterly and is highly effective for preventing migraines.
“We have attending physicians, nurse practitioners, fellows and residents working to give this treatment to migraine patients in need,” says Tepper. “Many health insurance companies cover it as an additional treatment for migraines, which is great news for patients.”
In addition to medication, non-invasive devices such as external trigeminal stimulation (brand name Cefaly) and remote external neurostimulation (brand name Nerivio), stimulate nerves in the head or on the arm and provide yet another path for patients to reduce migraines.
With many new and effective treatments offering hope for those living with this disabling neurological illness, it is a remarkable time for migraine patients.
For more information about managing migraines and headaches, treatments and services and how to make an appointment, please visit the Headache Center page.