*This article was last updated on February 15, 2019.
With more than 39 million migraine sufferers in the United States and a wide range of symptoms accompanying each one, it can be difficult to effectively find a solution that works for your employees who suffer.
And, while current drugs may treat and prevent migraines for many patients, they weren’t developed specifically for migraine relief.
Migraines come with a physical and financial cost.
Migraines currently cost Americans an estimated $36 billion annually External Site in lost productivity and health care expenses. Not only that, but migraines are one of the most common reasons for emergency department visits.
More than 39 million Americans suffer from migraines.
$36 billion is lost in productivity and health care expenses.
New class of drugs promise to banish migraines
A new drug class, known as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors, are the first to focus on migraine prevention. CGRP levels increase in patients during a migraine, and the drugs work by either binding to CGRP itself or blocking its receptor.
The CGRP inhibitors available on the market today and those still in development require either monthly or quarterly subcutaneous, intravenous (IV), or oral administration. So far in clinical trials, all appear to reduce frequency of migraine headaches (both chronic and occasional) and are reasonably safe. Compared to placebo, the drugs reduced headache days by an additional one to two days per month.
Three new breakthrough drugs:
Aimovig (erenumab), Emgality (galcanezumab), and Ajovy (fremanezumab)Have shown to be effective in reducing headaches for those who suffer from both chronic and occasional migraines. All three drugs were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018.
EptinezumabIs currently in late-stage clinical development and, if approved, will be the first-to-market infusion therapy for migraine prevention. It has delivered positive results for people with occasional and chronic migraines.
AtogepantIs also in late-stage clinical development and, if approved, will be the first oral CGRP inhibitor approved for migraine prevention. It has delivered positive results for people with occasional migraines.
Emerging treatments for immediate migraine relief
Emerging therapies for patients with difficult-to-treat migraine headaches don’t just include preventive agents. Currently, there are migraine treatment medications in development to potentially provide options for those who didn’t respond to medications already on the market.
Ubrogepantan and rimegepantAre in late-stage clinical development and, if approved, will be the first oral CGRP antagonists for the immediate treatment of a migraine.
LasmiditanIs an investigational, first-in-class drug for the acute treatment of migraine that is in late-stage development. This oral drug has been designed for the immediate treatment of migraines without the narrowing of blood vessels typically associated with some migraine therapies.
Cue Wellmark’s Pharmacy & Therapeutics (P&T) Committee
The CGRP inhibitors, Aimovig, Emgality, and Ajovy, which are available on the market today and have been reviewed by Wellmark’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee in 2018. Amiovig, Emagality and Ajovy are also considered specialty drugs on the Wellmark drug list and have prior authorization and quantity limits.
The Wellmark promise
With the potential for the remaining drugs to be available soon, Wellmark will continue to monitor the trial results. If a drug is approved, Wellmark’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee will review the drug’s safety, effectiveness and cost to determine where it should live within our drug list and whether or not utilization management would be applied. Encourage your employees to check out the Wellmark Drug List to see where treatment may fall.
Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Send Email.