The first medicine to prevent and treat migraine attacks arrives in Spain

Migraine is the leading cause of disability in women between 15 and 49 years old, according to the World Health Organization

Vydura (rimegepant) is the first treatment to prevent and treat migraine attacks, but only for patients who suffer between eight and 14 episodes per month.

More than four million Spaniards suffer from migraine , which represents 12% of the population . 80% of them are women, especially between 20 and 40 years old.

Although it is a pathology with a significant incidence, almost 54% of these patients indicate that they have not found a solution to cope with the symptoms of the disease:

  • Pulsating pain of moderate to severe intensity
  • Gradual pain that increases as hours pass
  • Light sensitivity
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.

We are talking about a neurological condition that is not a simple headache , since it goes much further: the second cause of disability in the world and the first in women between 15 and 49 years old, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). . Migraine has a negative impact on the quality of life of those who suffer from it, with a high physical, emotional and mental burden.

First treatment to prevent and treat migraine

In our country , Vydura (rimegepant) is now available, the first treatment to prevent and treat migraine attacks, which provides freedom from pain and the most annoying symptom two hours after receiving this medication, marketed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer . The relief of symptoms can last up to 48 hours.

In Spain it is estimated that there are around 4.5 million people who suffer from migraines. /SHUTTERSTOCK

As explained by Dr. Jesús Porta-Etessam , head of Neurology at the San Carlos Clinical Hospital and president of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), during a meeting with the media to present this drug and which this portal has attended , is a disease “surrounded by a lot of misunderstanding and tends to become trivialized.” And very underdiagnosed: “only 50% of migraine patients are diagnosed . “

As it is a disease that occurs through crises, when the patient does not have pain “he tends to lead a supernormal life, that is, he makes an effort to do everything that he cannot do during migraine episodes.”

With the arrival of this medication in Spain, one of the most worrying data is put to rest: only between 3 and 13% of patients receive preventive treatment , when 40% of patients with migraine, with or without aura , and almost everyone with chronic migraine would benefit from this type of treatment “both preventatively and to reduce the frequency, severity and duration of attacks.”

“Patients with a lot of hope”

Patients come to Dr. Porta-Etessam’s office “with a lot of hope” to begin treatments that can put an end to the number of crises and symptoms and thus improve their quality of life . However, “the data show that there are things we can improve in the clinical approach and in the solutions we give to patients.”

It is an “easy to diagnose” pathology: recurrent, with photophobia, pulsatility (the heart “inside” the head) and worsens with activity.

And, thus, any person with any of these symptoms is very likely to suffer from migraine, but “since it cannot be confirmed with tests such as a blood test, there are doctors who are afraid to give this diagnosis.”

Self-medication can cause migraine to become chronic.

Self-medication can cause migraine to become chronic. / FREEPIK

And, do we know why migraines appear? The doctor has pointed out that one of the factors that could trigger migraine attacks is lack of sleep. Little sleep can be a trigger for this neurological disease, as can fasting or certain foods, although the latter only occurs in one in five patients.

There are also psychological factors, such as stress, anxiety and depression, environmental changes and sensory stimuli, such as visual, olfactory and auditory.

New drug “to get out of the labyrinth of crises”

It addresses both indications: acute, reducing pain and the most worrying symptoms of migraine, but it is also a preventive treatment, for those who have at least four migraine attacks per month .

It has a rapid action: in two hours or less, the symptoms of this disease can be reduced.

José Chaves , Medical Director of Pfizer Spain, has indicated that “it comes to provide a solution to improve the quality of life of migraine patients.”

Vydura (rimegepant) is available in more than 40 countries around the world, in Europe , the United States and the United Kingdom , and in Spain since last January .

“It is the only treatment indicated for the acute phase of this disease and also as a preventive tool.”

Stress, tension or anxiety are environmental factors that can trigger or worsen a migraine episode.

Stress, tension or anxiety are environmental factors that can trigger or worsen a migraine episode. / FREEPIK

Furthermore, another advantage of this medication, which is administered orally, is its rapid action and its “few” side effects. It is a neuropeptide involved in pain signaling that participates in the appearance of migraines.

Need a prescription

It is funded for those patients who have tried three other previous treatments that have not been effective and who suffer between eight and 14 migraine attacks per month .

It must be prescribed by a doctor (it does not need to be a neurology specialist) and is dispensed in the hospital pharmacy . “It has an excellent tolerability profile, making it a therapeutic alternative for those affected for whom other medications have not worked.”

In 49% of patients who take this new drug, the number of migraine attacks reduces by 50%. In the long term it has also been seen that the number of episodes per month is reduced to 6.2 times. Some four million Spaniards could benefit from this treatment.

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