Brain and nervous system

New Medications to Treat Migraines



This year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved three medications to prevent and combat one of the most sudden and painful conditions: migraine.

Zavegepant is a nasal spray for treating acute migraines in adults with or without aura. RizaFilm, which fulfills the same function, is a dissolvable ultra-thin film placed under the tongue. It is approved for use in adults and adolescents 12 to 17 years of age weighing 40 kg (88 pounds) or more.

The third drug, atogepant, is indicated as a single daily dose for the prevention of chronic migraine in adults. People living with this type of migraine experience episodes of painful headache for 15 days or more every month, an average of eight of which become strong migraines.

The nasal spray Zavegepant alleviates migraine in about 15 minutes, with relief that lasts up to 48 hours in many patients.

RizaFilm dissolves quickly and releases the active ingredient in the mouth—meaning that the patient doesn’t need to swallow a pill. This route of administration is an alternative, especially for patients with migraine who suffer from migraine-associated nausea.

Medical data based on studies with atopegant demonstrate that it helps reduce the burden of migraine by delivering improvements in function, with high response rates and sustained efficacy over 12 weeks. These are critical factors neurologists and headache specialists consider when prescribing a treatment option, particularly for those with chronic migraine. It is available in doses of 10 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg.

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Migraine affects an estimated more than 10% of people worldwide, occurs most often among people aged 20 to 50 years, and is about 3 times more common in women than in men. In a large US survey, 17.1% of women and 5.6% of men reported having migraine symptoms.

The prevalence of migraine in the region is increasing significantly, which is feeding demand for medications to treat this condition. Brazil has the largest number of patients with migraine in Latin America, followed by Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico, and Argentina.

Migraine is the second cause of disability worldwide, only after low back pain. This level of disability especially occurs in young and middle-aged adult women.

Migraine is characterized by debilitating attacks lasting four to 72 hours with multiple symptoms, including pulsating headaches of moderate-to-severe pain intensity, often associated with nausea or vomiting, and/or sensitivity to sound (phonophobia) and light (photophobia).

This story was produced using content from original studies or reports, as well as other medical research and health and public health sources cited in links throughout the article.