With the aim of sensitizing health authorities and professionals, and society in general, about the pain of patients suffering from this type of headache, and joining efforts to improve their quality of life, every September 12 commemorates the International Day of Action against Migraine.
Migraine it is the third most common disease in the world, and it is estimated that it affects 14.7% of the population, that is, 1 in 7 people. It usually manifests at puberty andmainly affects the 35-45 age group. It is more common in women in a ratio of 3 of them for each male;represents the seventh specific cause of disability.
The manifestations of migraine are particular and are characterized by more severe headaches, which are accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light, sounds or smells, and trouble concentrating. exist triggers that favor the appearance of episodes, such as stress and anxiety situations, certain smells or perfumes, loud noises and bright lights, alcohol and tobacco, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, use of birth control pills, vigorous exercise, changes in sleep patterns, prolonged fasting and some foods such as chocolate or hard cheeses.
Time and practice have shown that so far resources for frequent seizure preventive treatment were of limited utility, since they were effective in less than 50% of patients with high-frequency or chronic migraines. After presenting an analysis that demonstrated the safety of the drug as a preventive treatment for migraine, the Teva laboratory announced the arrival in our country of fremanezumab, a monoclonal antibody that reduces the number of episodes and their intensity by half, and the only one that can be applied on a quarterly basis.
“Historically, each episode of migraine was treated acutely, trying to reduce its symptoms and intensity, but in recent years, after having achieved a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that trigger the disease, a whole new therapeutic horizon has been opened, which it has to do with treating migraine preventively, without waiting for the episode to start. One approach does not exclude the other, preventive treatment, which reduces the number of episodes per month, can coexist with acute treatment, which improves how the patient goes through each episode ”, explained Dr. Alejandro Andersson, neurologist, director of the Institute of Neurology Buenos Aires (INBA).
Fremanezumab, the most recent novelty in our country to treat this disease preventively in adults, is an innovative drug that was approved by the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) that, unlike other options, can be administered on a monthly or quarterly basis. Is about a monoclonal antibody that has been shown in several clinical studies to significantly reduce the number of migraine days in people with the moderate to severe variant of the disease.
In people with episodic migraine (less than 15 episodes per month), 47.7% managed to halve the number of migraine days per month -between patients treated with the monthly dose- and 44.4% among those who received the quarterly dose. Secondly, 4 out of 10 chronic migraine sufferers (experiencing more than 15 episodes per month) reduced the number of migraine days by 50% a month with the monthly dose and 37.6%, the group that received the quarterly dose.
In this regard, the specialist acknowledged that “It is extremely encouraging to be faced with the possibility of reducing so much migraine days in a significant group of patients. This means devolve freedom for them, allow them to resume their daily lives and all that they have been postponing ”.
“What’s more, It is very convenient for patients that they can administer it themselves or in a health center and do it -eventually- on a quarterly basis. This simplifies treatment, which can contribute to its fulfillment, which is always a challenge in chronic diseases ”, added the neurologist.
It goes through all aspects of life
“Sometimes you run the risk of minimizing this disease by putting it at the height of common headaches, which can make patients who suffer from it feel very misunderstood. It is a disease in which, many days a month, The person may be unable to work, exercise, play with their children or meet friends, even not wanting to go outside and only think about lying in the room. In this context, the arrival of new medications is always good news, “he said. Andersson.
To better describe what this disease can represent, months ago the results of the international survey were presented “Beyond the migraine, the real you”, which surveyed the experience of 12,545 people with migraine (73% women, 27% men) from 16 countries, including 500 Argentines.
Among the participants from our country, Almost 9 out of 10 (88%) indicated that the disease negatively affects their quality of life and that society does not take this disease seriously; half (51% and 52%, respectively) indicated that they altered their work development and their plans to leave their home, 1 in 3 (36%) assured that it impacted on their sexual life. 4 out of 10 (39%) indicated that the disease harmed their family relationships and 42% of those with children indicated that they felt that their migraine affected their child’s overall happiness. They also expressed that, by limiting their potential, migraine made them feel frustrated (61%), exhausted (54%), angry (49%), worthless (39%), depressed (38%) and sad (37%). ), among other emotions.
Although it is undoubtedly a hopeful therapeutic novelty for the treatment of the disease, It will be the health professional, in dialogue with the patient, who will determine the most convenient treatment for each case, fundamentally considering how the disease manifests itself in that person, the frequency, duration, severity of the episodes and their impact on the patient’s life.