The latest in migraine treatments has been launched in Australia. It is part of a new class of medication specifically designed to target the condition.
The new drug is called Vyepti, it is a part of a group of drugs which block a molecule in the brain known as calcitonin gene-related peptide, which becomes elevated during an attack.
The anti-CGRPs, as the group of medications are known, are the first medicines developed to specifically target migraine attacks.
Vyepti works slightly differently from any anti-CGRPs already available. It comes in the form of an infusion every three months, rather than a monthly self-administered injection. It also works to prevent attacks, rather than treating them once they arrive.
“Being an intravenous therapy, we do achieve bioavailability very quickly at the end of the 30-minute infusion and benefits can be seen as early as day one,” according to neurologist and migraine specialist Dr Nicole Limburg.
“It’s been game-changing for patients, the benefits they’ve been able to achieve.”
One of those patients is mum Emma Treadgold, who has regular migraine attacks which leave her bed ridden for days.
“Having migraines adds a bit of a spanner in the works, I’m lucky I have a fantastic supportive husband,” she told 9News.
“It really does affect every area of your personal and professional life.”
Vyepti has helped her attacks, but at the moment the medication comes with a large price tag, about $1800 every three months.
There is currently a submission to subside the treatment on the PBS to make it more accessible.
“What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s really important to give people of all demographics access to different medications they can try,” Ms Treaddgold said.
Carl Cincinnato from Migraine and Headache Australia said as more migraine-specific drugs become available patients should speak to their doctor about their options.
“We want our community to have access, fair access to affordable treatments,” he said.
“It’s actually different now, we have treatments designed specifically for migraines so it’s a good opportunity to speak to your doctor about it.”
Migraines are the most common brain disease in the world. Around 71% of sufferers are women and the condition costs the economy more than $3.5 billion a year.
Patients are frequently prescribed medications originally developed for other conditions, such as anti-depressants, anti-epileptic drugs, blood pressure medications and even Botox.
Image: Nine News
This article first appeared on OverSixty.