CLEVELAND — For those who understand the debilitating effects of a migraine headache, knowing relief may be a spray away in 15 minutes could be a game changer.
"Given that it's an intranasal, it has fast onset, which is helpful for patients who have migraine peak very quickly," Dr. Emad Estemalik, headache specialist at Cleveland Clinic, said.
The FDA approved Pfizer's Zavzpret on Friday, and the drug is expected to have an official launch in July. We'll find out then how much it will cost, although Pfizer says it will be comparable to other migraine medications.
The spray is part of a class of drugs that stop migraines when they start.
"For a lot of patients who have significant nausea or vomiting, this is an ideal treatment because they don't have to take anything oral in terms of medication; just use an intranasal medication to quickly abort their migraines," Estemalik explained.
Zavzpret is approved for those with or without migraine auras. Studies showed the medication could give pain relief in 15 minutes, normal function in 30, and a return to normal in two hours. However, the label has a warning to stop taking it in case of facial swelling and skin rashes.
Zavzpret is also an option for those who couldn't take the older medications.
"It's very safe for patients with cerebrovascular or cardiovascular risk factors," Estemalie said, "unlike the older drugs like triptans and ergots."
And unlike the older drugs, Estemalik tells 3News there's no risk of medication overload and rebound headaches.