Navigating chronic migraine: One woman’s quest to find the right doctor and preventive treatment

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(BPT) - As a nursing student, Nicole, 32, has a busy yet rewarding life. She works 12-hour hospital shifts as a nursing assistant and spends her free time traveling and playing with her dogs, Bailey and Snoopy. She's also lived with the invisible, excruciating pain and complexities of migraine disease since she was a child.

Migraine Impact: It’s More Than a Headache

At age 11, Nicole began experiencing pain and sickness, symptoms that she would later learn were that of migraine disease. Unfortunately, Nicole’s path to diagnosis mirrors one many migraine patients experience — years of doctors overlooking her symptoms, delaying her diagnosis and treatment for over a decade — until she finally received a chronic migraine diagnosis in her mid-20s. There are over 150 different classifications of headache disorders and a myriad of associated symptoms, so it is important to seek out a neurologist, who understands the impact migraine can have on someone’s life, when experiencing migraine symptoms.

Becoming empowered and confident in advocating for herself came slowly for Nicole. In her years searching for an effective treatment, Nicole’s migraine disease became more severe and the stress of being a full-time student and part-time employee seemed to increase her vulnerability to migraine attacks. She was no longer able to function at work, spend time with her friends or do any of the other activities she previously enjoyed.

“I went from having the typical life of a young working professional to dealing with debilitating migraine attacks with nausea, vomiting and fatigue,” says Nicole. “I lost friends, my job, and my financial and physical independence.” She tried multiple medications and lifestyle changes to reduce her symptoms, but the migraine attacks persisted.

After unsuccessful treatments, Nicole learned about VYEPTI® (eptinezumab-jjmr), a prescription medicine used for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults, by way of various talks she attended during her advocacy work. She began researching more about the treatment, its clinical trials, and its route of administration — she was intrigued by the intravenous (IV) infusion treatment delivery that’s given by a healthcare professional every 3 months. She wondered if it could be a good fit for her and wanted to try it, so she brought it up with her doctor. They discussed the treatment, its benefits and risks, and based on their clinical judgement, Nicole's neurologist decided to prescribe it for her.

“I am in a much better place,” said Nicole. “If my migraine wasn’t well managed, my 12-hour shifts in the hospital would feel unbearable.” Since starting preventive treatment on VYEPTI, Nicole is able to spend less time managing her migraine and more time enjoying school, work and life. “I never would have imagined that I could enjoy trips like the one I recently took to Portugal.”

VYEPTI is a calcitonin gene-related peptide antagonist (anti-CGRP) and is the first and only FDA-approved preventive treatment for migraine delivered by IV infusion. In patients with four or more migraine days per month, VYEPTI has been proven to reduce average monthly migraine days over months 1-3 compared to placebo. Individual results may vary.

Do not receive VYEPTI if you are allergic to eptinezumab-jjmr or any of the ingredients in VYEPTI. See additional Important Safety Information for VYEPTI below.

A New Chapter with Migraine Under Control

When Nicole moved from New York to Chicago, she found it difficult to connect with a doctor who did not dismiss her debilitating symptoms. She visited four different doctors but none of them were the right fit for her.

“I didn’t feel heard or respected with some of the doctors,” said Nicole. “One wanted to change the treatment plan that was working for me. And others weren’t comfortable with my medical profile, which is complex and comes with comorbidities.”

Given Nicole’s struggle to feel connected with a new healthcare partner in Chicago, and her happiness with the two-way partnership and treatment experience with her doctor in New York, she chooses to travel from Chicago to New York for her quarterly VYEPTI infusion treatments. Nicole’s New York-based doctor, a migraine and headache specialist, recognizes the disabling nature of the disease, respects what she says about the impact of symptoms on her daily activities, and values her input. This collaborative and supportive partnership is essential to Nicole’s health and well-being.

Nicole wants to share what she’s learned from her migraine experience, and why she thinks it’s important to not give up on finding the right treatment and doctor.

Power of Self Advocacy

When managing your migraine disease, Nicole emphasizes the importance of advocating for yourself.

“If you’re not satisfied with the level of control you have over your migraine symptoms on your current treatment, or aren’t connecting with your doctor, consider making a change. You shouldn’t feel like you’re a burden for asking for better options to meet your treatment goals,” advises Nicole. “It’s important to ask about alternatives to help prevent your migraine attacks, especially if they are affecting your daily life.”

There are resources available to those seeking more information about treatment options, Nicole notes. Migraine organizations, such as National Headache Foundation and American Migraine Foundation, serve as valuable community resources helping to educate patients, healthcare professionals and the public on migraine and headache disorder symptoms, advocacy efforts, support for treatment research, and offer tools to locate a headache specialist. While there is a higher concentration of specialists in larger cities, many of which are in high demand, the emergence of telehealth is helping to expand access to specialists for people not located near these city hubs.

Another key part of managing migraine is prioritizing a positive and supportive partnership with your doctor. Nicole urges people living with migraine to ask the following questions when meeting with a/their doctor:

  • Can I communicate with you outside of appointments?
  • How easy will it be for me to get an appointment in the event of an emergency?
  • What treatment options could help me better manage my symptoms so I can continue doing things I enjoy?
  • Are there alternative options I have not tried yet that can help me manage my migraine disease with my comorbidities?
  • Are there any new advancements in migraine and headache treatments?

Nicole wants others to feel inspired by her experiences. She encourages everyone with migraine to speak up, especially if they feel they are still highly impacted by migraine or if they are not feeling heard by their doctor. "You can still do a lot with migraine and all the symptoms. Sure, you can have horrible days. We all have horrible days. But there’s always hope with preventive treatment to have more good days. Now there are some days when I completely forget I have migraine, and those are the best days of all.”

To learn more about how you can personalize your next treatment discussion with your doctor, visit vyepti.com.

APPROVED USE

VYEPTI is a prescription medicine used for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Do not receive VYEPTI if you have a known allergy to eptinezumab-jjmr or its ingredients.

VYEPTI may cause allergic reactions. Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical help right away if you have any symptoms of an allergic reaction: rash; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat; if you have trouble breathing; hives; or redness in your face.

Before starting VYEPTI, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including any prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

The most common side effects of VYEPTI include stuffy nose and scratchy throat, and allergic reactions.

These are not all the possible side effects of VYEPTI. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information, please see the Prescribing Information and Patient Information or go to vyepti.com.

© 2024 Lundbeck. All rights reserved. VYEPTI is a registered trademark of Lundbeck Seattle BioPharmaceuticals, Inc. EPT-B-101499






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