Prevalence of migraine is relatively high with around 10 percent of global populations estimated to suffer from the condition. Known to typically affect individuals between the ages of 20 and 50 years, migraine is known to affect a greater number of women than men. For instance, in the US, studies have determined that the rates of prevalence among women is thrice that of men. Migraine presently does not have any permanent cure, though various medications are available to help ease the symptoms and manage the condition. A common question doing the rounds is What are the new drugs for the treatment of migraines? Following subsections offer a detailed look at the newly introduced drugs for treatment of the condition.

Migraine prevention medications

A few migraine prevention medications are presently available, and belong to the category of Monoclonal antibodies. These drugs are known to specifically target proteins that are responsible for the symptoms associated with migraine. For instance, erenumab is known to have a blocking action, while other medications have an inhibiting action. These drugs are typically administered by the patient himself/herself once a month. Similar formulations are also administered as injections once in three months, while some are administered intravenously once in three months.

Latest migraine treatment

Latest migraine treatment involves the use of two categories of drugs that are collectively called as Gepants, and ditans. These are oral formulations, and have been approved for use as recently as 2021. Some are intended to treat acute migraine even as it occurs, while some are used for preventing migraine, like the medication profiled above. Another drug that is popular is a medication with a dual action. Commonly available as a popular branded medication by name of Nurtec, this drug is known to have a dual effect – of preventing as well as offering relief during acute migraine. This makes it a good choice to have in the medicine cabinet. Here is a closer look at Nurtec.

What is Nurtec?

Medically known as Rimegepant, the drug belongs to the category of oral antagonist of CGRP receptors, and has been in use for almost three years since approval by the FDA. It is used for treating acute migraine headache, and is also used for preventing migraines. Presently, other formulations belonging to the triptan category work with a mechanism of action that could result in effects in patients with other medical conditions. For instance, patients with certain cerebrovascular and cardiovascular conditions, will end up experiencing adverse effects as a result of the vasoconstrictive properties of triptans. This is one of the reasons for studies into medications that are antagonists of the CGRP pathway. This is because medications that work with this mechanism of action do not possess vasoconstrictive properties. This makes it safer to treat patients with the above conditions.

What is Lamiditan?

Belonging to the category of oral 5HT1F agonist, it is recommended for treating migraines with or without aura. The term aura in migraine refers to certain distinct symptoms that accompany migraine headaches. This could be experienced along with migraine or it could precede migraine. For instance, the individual may experience dizzy feelings, or could hear a ringing sensation in the ears, while some are known to see zig zag lines. Lamiditan in use since approval last three years ago, is highly selective agonist, and this eliminates the effects on other receptors, which makes it different from older formulations. The drug does not cause vasoconstriction, and this makes it the only drug belonging to the category of NAAMA (acronym for neurally acting, anti-migraine) drugs.

The need to avoid over use of OTC medications for migraine

It is essential to avoid overuse of OTC formulations for treating migraine. Prescription drugs are typically taken as per the recommended schedule; however, individuals tend to take OTC drugs over and above the safe limits. Guidelines recommend that the maximum number of days per month for the medications is to be capped at 10 days. This will ensure that the effects of the medications do not cause headaches, linked to triptan class of medications. Certain class of drugs are known to be a better option, as there is less likelihood of headaches from continued use of medications. Certain effects are linked to the drugs – for instance, a tingling sensation, and a distinct tight feeling in the chest and the throat. Patients may also feel sleepy when on the medication.

How are these drugs beneficial?

The reason for the popularity of these drugs is the manner in which these drugs work, and deliver outcomes, even for patients with certain health conditions. For instance, patients with heart ailments, risk of experiencing stroke and other vascular diseases can now safely take these drugs without the effects experienced in older migraine medications. Additionally, these formulations are free from the side effects linked to older drug formulations.

A novelty of these drugs is the dosage, or the absence of dosage restrictions. Unlike earlier drug formulations that required dose adjustments during a certain period to look for any reactions, these drugs can now be administered in full dosages. While there are restrictions on the schedule or the period of intake, there are no restrictions on taking a smaller dosage, and then gradually increasing to the required dosage.

What kind of precautions need to be taken when on the new drugs for migraine?

With the answers to the question What are the new drugs for the treatment of migraines? Behind us, it is time to look at the precautions required when on the new medications. For instance, patients are advised not to drive for a period of eight hours after taking medications known as selective agonist of receptors, like Lasmiditan. Similarly, erenumab is known to cause constipation among patient, in addition to triggering an increase in blood pressure levels. These drugs are not recommended for use by pregnant women, and this needs to be monitored carefully. Caregivers are advised to ensure that these drugs are not given to pregnant women, with assumptions that the safety extends to all categories of patients.

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