25 years of migraine: How one sufferer won the battle
Posted: April 28, 2020 | Word Count: 975
Migraine has been an unwelcome part of Jennifer (Jennie) Latson's life for more than 25 years. On average, she has 10-12 migraine attacks per month. They can cause her horrible pain, severe nausea and vomiting, and often keep her bedridden for several days at a time. Her attacks started when she was 12 years old.
Despite her challenges with migraine, Jennie was an overachieving teenager who was optimistic of a future filled with unlimited opportunities.
“As a teen, I believed there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish in my life,” says Jennie. “I didn’t know what was causing my pain. My parents thought I was unusually susceptible to the flu. They hoped it was a condition I would eventually outgrow. I shared the same hope.”
A physical and emotional toll
Jennie’s hope was short-lived. The condition she assumed she would outgrow followed her to college. It was during her freshman year at Yale that she finally got an official diagnosis of her condition: Jennie was suffering from migraine. The news was devastating emotionally.
“When I received the diagnosis of migraine, I knew it was a condition I couldn’t outgrow,” says Jennie. “I realized then that the effects of migraine would limit my career choices and take away many of the opportunities I was hoping to have in my life.”
Resilient fight to gain relief
As she has done throughout her battle with migraine, Jennie powered through the pain and ultimately began a career as a journalist. In her brave efforts to limit migraine’s disruption to her life and career, she has learned many valuable coping skills.
“I’ve learned how to push through pain when I have to and make adjustments,” says Jennie. “When I was working as a newspaper reporter, I got my work done well ahead of deadlines, so I wasn’t derailed by a migraine at the last minute. I also learned to be kinder to myself and ask for help.”
Her fight has also included a tireless quest to find a treatment that will relieve her agonizing migraine pain. She tried more than a dozen existing medications for preventive and acute treatment of migraine and participated in several clinical trials for new treatments.
“Life changing” clinical trial
Jennie’s battle with migraine took a positive turn in August 2018. A regular follower of the National Institutes of Health’s listing of clinical trials, she learned about a new trial evaluating rimegepant, the investigational, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist for the acute treatment of migraine, developed by Biohaven Pharmaceuticals. Treatment with a CGRP receptor antagonist is believed to relieve migraine by blocking neurogenic inflammation, decreasing artery dilation, and inhibiting pain transmission.
Having been disappointed by her earlier clinical trial experiences, Jennie enrolled in the rimegepant study with low expectations. Soon, however, her understandable skepticism would turn into renewed hope for an improved quality of life.
“My experience with rimegepant was different,” says Jennie. “For the first time, a drug seemed to provide the relief that would improve my everyday life.”
Watershed FDA approval in migraine treatment
In February 2020, rimegepant was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the brand name of NURTEC™ ODT for the acute treatment of migraine in adults. Delivered in a single quick-dissolving tablet, NURTEC ODT disperses almost instantly in a person's mouth without the need for water, offering people with migraine a convenient, discreet way to take their medication anytime and anywhere they need it. Available by prescription, NURTEC ODT may provide long-sought relief to millions of migraine sufferers like Jennie.
“While I know everyone doesn't get the same result, rimegepant has enabled me to regain control of my life,” says Jennie, now 39, and the editor of Rice Business magazine, Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business’s alumni publication and a freelance writer for Psychology Today. “I no longer have to worry about burning through sick days or worrying about losing my job. I can go on vacations without the fear of ending up sick in bed from a migraine.”
“I hope my story inspires other people with migraine to never give up hope in finding the treatment that improves their lives,” adds Jennie.
What is NURTECTM ODT (rimegepant)?
NURTEC ODT orally disintegrating tablets is a prescription medicine for the acute treatment of migraine for attacks with or without aura in adults. NURTEC ODT is not used as a preventive treatment of migraine. It is not known if NURTEC ODT is safe and effective in children.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not take Nurtec ODT if you are allergic to Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) or any of its ingredients.
Before you take Nurtec ODT, tell your healthcare provider (HCP) about all your medical conditions, including if you:
- have liver problems,
- have kidney problems,
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant,
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Tell your HCP about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Nurtec ODT may cause serious side effects including allergic reactions, including trouble breathing and rash. This can happen days after you take Nurtec ODT. Call your HCP or get emergency help right away if you have swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat or trouble breathing. This occurred in less than 1% of patients treated with Nurtec ODT.
The most common side effect of Nurtec ODT was nausea (2% of patients). This is not the only possible side effect of Nurtec ODT. Tell your HCP if you have any side effects. NURTEC is a trademark of Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd.
You are encouraged to report side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088 or report side effects to Biohaven at 1-833-4Nurtec.
Please see accompanying full Prescribing Information and Patient Information located at www.nurtec.com.