Cambia approved for treatment of migraine

CAMBIA, a new version of an older drug called diclofenac (also known as Voltaren and Cataflam which are used for other non-migraine pain conditions) has recently been approved for the active treatment (not migraine prevention) of migraine headache with aura or migraine without aura. The new formulation dissolves in water and therefore is able to enter the bloodstream more quickly for faster relief of headache. The normal dose is 1 packet of the drug (containing 50 mg) dissolved in a few ounces of water and taken on an empty stomach. The use of one 50 mg dose only is approved for a single migraine episode. The solution is the only migraine medication available in the United States that comes in a powder for oral solution.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug after 2 phase 3 clinical trials were conducted comparing the drug versus a placebo (sugar pill). The FDA requires proof that migraine medications work for all the major migraine symptoms before they will approve it to be used for migraine including pain and nausea as well as sensitivity to light and sensitivity to sound. People should be aware that this drug shares exactly the same side effects as the other versions of the drug as well as other NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as increased risk of stroke or high blood pressure as well as potential for GI bleeding. So while the dosage formulation of the drug may offer some advantages for ease of use and speed of effect, it does not offer any safety benefit over other NSAID’s.

Health plans may not offer coverage of CAMBIA in all cases and may require members to obtain their prescription from certain specialists (such as neurologists or headache clinics) or to try other drugs for several headache episodes prior to CAMBIA. The manufacturer of CAMBIA offers limited assistance with co-payments under certain circumstances at The Cambia Cares Savings Program.

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