Pfizer migraine medicine, Nurdec, put on the map by Lady Gaga

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Pfizer Pharmacology Active ingredient Migraine Medicine

Coordinating with Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (MHAM), this June, Pfizer has announced it is partnering with multi-award winning, singer and actress, Lady Gaga, who was diagnosed with migraine when she was 14.

“Lady Gaga’s story is a powerful reminder of how significantly migraine affects the lives of so many people,” says Angela Lukin, global primary care and US president at Pfizer. “We believe that this collaboration will help raise awareness of this often ‘silent’ disease and inspire those living with migraine to have conversations with their healthcare providers about the best way to manage their condition.”  

As part of the awareness month, the headache, migraine, and cluster communities work together for the diseases to be recognized. MHAM says it plays a vital role to raise public knowledge, address the stigma and build a stronger community of patient advocates.

Migraine is a debilitating and recurrent neurological disease that affects 40 million people in the US and one billion people worldwide.

Pfizer says one study found migraine to be considered the second most disabling condition in the world, following back pain.

The small molecule drug in question is rimegepant, which is sold under the brand name Nurtec ODT, and among others, it is a medication used for the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults and the preventative treatment of episodic migraine in adults. The drug is taken orally and dissolves on or under the tongue. It works by blocking CGRP, a protein that kicks off migraines, receptors.

Nurdec block the effects of this protein to try to prevent migraine attacks and they can also shorten the duration of attacks and reduce pain and other symptoms. Many of these drugs are monoclonal antibodies and can be injected too. 

By showcasing Lady Gaga’s experience, Pfizer said it hopes to help people better understand the effect migraine can have on their lives and to show people living with the disease that they are not alone. 

The company said it had spoken to the singer about how migraines have affected her life.

She told the pharmaceutical giant: “My experience with migraines was debilitating. I would be in bed for days with tremendous pain in my head, behind my eyes, and all throughout my face,” she says. “I couldn’t read or have any lights on, and I needed to be alone in a quiet room for hours that could lead to days until the pain subsided.”

She also told Pfizer the attacks happened about once a month and that by the time she was 25, she was dealing with other medical conditions along with the migraines. She said the combination of pain from her migraines and managing other conditions left her barely able to function.

At the moment, there is no known complete cure for migraines. 

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