Neurologists have a new weapon in their arsenal to relieve patients of chronic migraine headaches. The FDA recently approved Ubrelvy, also known as ubrogepant, for consumer use. Ubrelvy is an oral, non-narcotic pill specifically designed to treat migraine pain and some of the most bothersome symptoms—like light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, or nausea.
Neurologist Michael Puente of Culicchia Neurological has already started prescribing the new drug for his patients. “We welcome a new medication that works in a completely different manner from what we had up to now. It also is safe to use in patients with hypertension and has minimal side effects. It will hopefully make a real difference for our migraine sufferers! It is an alternative to triptans like sumatriptan that may cause elevated blood pressure,” Puente said.
Ubrelvy blocks CGRP, a protein that is released during a migraine attack, from binding to its receptors. It works without constricting blood vessels, which some older treatments are known to do. Ubrelvy is non-narcotic, not scheduled, and does not have addiction potential. It has been approved with two dose strengths, 50 mg and 100 mg, and is specially designed so healthcare providers can provide a personalized treatment approach for appropriate patients.Migraines effect 37 million people in the United States. Migraine headache pain is often described as an intense throbbing or pulsating pain in one area of the head. Additional symptoms include nausea and/or vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. Approximately one third of individuals who suffer from migraine also experience aura shortly before the migraine. An aura can appear as flashing lights, zig-zag lines, or a temporary loss of vision. Migraines can often be triggered by various factors including stress, hormone changes, bright or flashing lights, lack of food or sleep and diet. Migraine is three times more common in women than in men and affects more than 10% of people worldwide.
The FDA reported that the effectiveness of Ubrelvy for the acute treatment of migraine was demonstrated in two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. In these studies, 1,439 adult patients with a history of migraine, with and without aura, received the approved doses of Ubrelvy to treat an ongoing migraine. In both studies, the percentages of patients achieving pain freedom two hours after treatment (defined as a reduction in headache severity from moderate or severe pain to no pain) and whose most bothersome migraine symptom (nausea, light sensitivity or sound sensitivity) stopped two hours after treatment were significantly greater among patients receiving Ubrelvy at all doses compared to those receiving placebo. Patients were allowed to take their usual acute treatment of migraine at least two hours after taking Ubrelvy. 23% of patients were taking a preventive medication for migraine.
The most common side effects that patients in the clinical trials reported were nausea, tiredness and dry mouth. Ubrelvy is contraindicated for co-administration with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors.