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Pasurta®, treatment for migraine prevention approved in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, 8 August 2019: Saying goodbye to migraine pain would be a dream come true for many migraine sufferers. The arrival of Pasurta® (erenumab), a once-monthly injection for the prevention of migraine bridges the unmet needs for migraine sufferers.

Pasurta (Erenumab); the first ever migraine preventive treatment of its kind in Malaysia

Novartis Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd announced today that Pasurta, an approved treatment that targets the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor, which plays a critical role in migraine, is now available in Malaysia.

The recent prevalence in Malaysia is not known but based on a study conducted in 1996, 9% of Malaysians could be suffering from migraine.

Migraine is a chronic neurological disease that causes recurrent attacks of head pain that is often associated with nausea and vomiting and can involve sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraine sufferers now can benefit from Pasurta, which has presented very encouraging results from its clinical trials: One in four migraine sufferers taking Pasurta for 64 weeks were completely migraine free. Another study showed that during 6-months treatment over 90% of migraine sufferers stayed on as participants, demonstrating Pasurta’s safety and tolerability profile.

These are extremely crucial features as it is common for migraine sufferers to go through numerous preventive treatments in the past due to lack of efficacy or intolerable side effects. To date, some 200,000 migraine sufferers11 worldwide are currently on this treatment, which is notable as the drug has only been launched in the US in May 201812.

Now migraine sufferers can look forward to Pasurta, proven to reduce migraine days,” said Patrik Grande, Country President and Managing Director of Novartis Malaysia. “Pasurta is reported to reduce migraine episodes by 50% and has consistently shown to be effective in preventing migraine and bringing relief from the grip of this disease.The launch of Pasurta is our commitment to reimagine medicines for patients who live with this condition every day of their lives.”

L-R The launch of Pasurta officiated by Dr. Julia Shahnaz Merican and Bernice Chan

Migraine was identified as the first cause of disability in people under 50, which emphasizes the severe economic and personal burden that it creates. As migraine mainly occurs during peak productive years (between the ages of 25 and 55)15, it is particularly disruptive, generating approximately RM83.9 billion of losses in the US annually.

Another problem associated with migraine is under diagnosis. Over two thirds of migraine sufferers have either not consulted a doctor for their condition or have stopped doing so9. To manage their condition, these migraine sufferers usually turn to painkillers. This may exacerbate the migraine as excessive use of painkillers causes medication overuse headache. To receive adequate care, migraine sufferers are advised to seek a proper diagnosis from a Neurologist.

Additionally, migraine is an invisible disease – people who do not suffer from it often do not understand how crippling it may be. It is not just a headache. For instance, the pain intensity associated with migraine attacks can be high enough to cross the threshold for disability17. Coupled with migraine features such as nausea and extreme sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as lights and sound, a patient is usually forced into a low-functioning state. For relief, many seek solitude in quiet, darkened rooms19.

“Migraine sufferers frequently complain about feeling judged, stigmatized, or misunderstood. It is not surprising, therefore, that migraine is highly comorbid with mental health disorders such as depression.” said Dr Julia Shahnaz, neurologist and headache specialist at Prince Court Medical Centre. “As such, we urge sufferers not to suffer in silence but to seek help with your doctors.”

Dr. Julia Shahnaz Merican, Consultant Neurologist, Prince Court Medical Centre and the only Headache Specialist in Malaysia, giving her presentation titled ‘A Brand New Hope For Migraine’ during the event.

As part of its Community Outreach Program, Novartis Malaysia also launched the Beat Migraine Back campaign. The Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/BeatMigraineBack/ aims to provide migraine sufferers with educational resources and the opportunity to connect with others who are suffering from migraine.

Also, a free mobile application called Migraine Buddy is now available for download. This online patient diary can be used to record useful information about a person’s migraine history.

The introduction of this new type of migraine prevention treatment is an example of the Novartis commitment to reimagine medicine – to help patients live longer and happier

Apart from Malaysia, Erenumab is also approved for use in the United States, the European Union, Canada, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Australia.

Quirky brain-shaped ice cream served at the launch – to inform the media that migraine is not “just a headache” but a neurological disorder related to brain.

About Pasurta® 

Pasurta is indicated for prophylaxis of migraine in adults who have at least 4 migraine days per month. The recommended dose of Pasurta is 70 mg administered subcutaneously once monthly. Some patients may benefit from a dosage of 140 mg once monthly.

About Novartis 

Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach more than 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 130 000 people of nearly 150 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at www.novartis.com.my

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