Headaches and migraines can be debilitating when they strike, leaving sufferers looking for any available treatment. Since there is not yet a cure for most headaches, people often turn to medication for relief.
Recently, three new medications were approved for the treatment of migraines: Reyvow, Ubrelvy, and Nurtec. Below is some information about each of these new treatment options.
Reyvow (generic name lasmiditan) is a medication to treat migraine attacks and provide pain relief within two hours. According to the brand’s marketing materials, clinical trials indicated that between 41 and 49 percent of people taking Reyvow experienced relief from their headache symptoms in two hours, while only 30 to 33 percent of those taking the placebo experienced relief. This medication works similarly (but not identically) to the “triptan” medications like Imitrex (aka sumatriptan), Maxalt (aka rizatriptan) and Relpax (aka eletriptan). Unlike the triptans, Reyvow does not appear to constrict blood vessels, making it a potentially better option for patients with a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks.
This medication is intended for adults, as its safety and effectiveness has not been verified for children. It is used as a treatment for migraines that have already began, as opposed to a preventative medication.
Some of the side effects of Reyvow may include:
Because of the side effects of Reyvow, you should not drive or operate machinery for at least 8 hours after taking this medication. If Reyvow is used frequently, some people may experience medication overuse headaches. Serotonin syndrome may occur in rare cases as well, especially if Reyvow is used in combination with certain antidepressant medications.
Ubrelvy (generic name ubrogepant) is another migraine medication to treat migraine attacks and provide pain relief within two hours. This medication is believed to work by blocking CGRP, which is a specific protein that is thought to contribute to migraine attacks and is also the mechanism of some the recent biologic medications like Aimovig, Ajovy, Emgality, and Vyepti. Unlike this biologic medications, which prevent migraine, Ubrelvy is taken to break a single headache. Ubrelvy is approved for use in adults, but very little information is available about the use of this medication in children.
Ubrelvy is an oral medication available in the form of a tablet. Patients can take a second tablet if pain relief does not occur within two hours of taking the first tablet. Ubrelvy cannot be used to prevent future migraine attacks and should not be taken more frequently than necessary.
The most common side effects of Ubrelvy are sleepiness and nausea. However, other side effects may occur as well. The medication interacts with several other drugs, as well as grapefruit juice, so be sure to check with your doctor before combining Ubrelvy with other treatments.
Nurtec (brand name rimegepant) is a fast-dissolving oral migraine treatment that has a similar mechanism as ubrelvy (you can tell because their generic names, ubrogepant and rimegepant, both end in -gepant). Nurtec also works within 2 hours. Nurtec was able to produce better results than a placebo in clinical trials. Trials showed that more patients taking Nurtec experienced relief in 60 minutes, two hours and over the next 48 hours compared to placebo.
Nurtec is intended for adults, as it is not known if children can use this medication safely. It is a treatment for active migraines and should be taken only as needed.
The most common side effect experienced by patients taking Nurtec was nausea. However, other side effects are also possible. In rare cases, serious side effects such as allergic reactions may occur.
Finding a Cure
Headaches are an ongoing problem for people everywhere, significantly impacting quality of life. For this reason, researchers continue to work toward a cure for migraines, cluster headaches and related disorders. Help us find a cure by donating to The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation.