Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.
Ubrelvy is a prescription medication for migraines. It’s an acute treatment, meaning that it can stop a migraine once one develops, and also can be effective for long-term prevention of migraines. The brand claims that their medication is “the #1 prescribed branded treatment for migraine attacks in adults.”
The generic version of Ubrelvy is called ubrogepant, and we’ll use these terms interchangeably throughout this article because they refer to the same active chemical compound.
In this article we’ll review the medical research on Ubrelvy to determine if it’s likely to be safe and effective for treating migraines. We’ll explain how the medication works on a biochemical level, highlight side effects, and overview dosage information. We’ll also compare the efficacy of Ubrelvy to another popular migraine medication.
Does Ubrelvy Work?
Ubrelvy is a well-studied pharmaceutical drug. A medical review published in the Drugs Today journal in 2020 analyzed the results of several individual medical trials to determine if Ubrelvy is effective at treating migraines.
The researchers found that Ubrelvy is not only effective at treating acute migraines, but “equally effective” at treating migraine-associated symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sensitivity to sound. 1 out of 5 patients experienced a total relief of pain with one single dose.
A more recent clinical trial evaluated the effects of Ubrelvy. It was a large trial, with 2,240 patients enrolled. The trial participants were all migraine sufferers, and were either assigned to take Ubrelvy or a placebo pill.
Ubrelvy was found to be more effective than placebo for reducing migraine symptoms to a statistically significant degree. Total reduction of pain was reported by 20.5% of patients on Ubrelvy and 13% of patients taking a placebo pill. Reduction of the worst migraine symptom was experienced by 38.7% of patients on Ubrelvy and 27.6% of patients taking a placebo pill.
Another meta-study testing Ubrelvy was published in the Advances in Therapy journal in 2022. This study evaluated the efficacy of Ubrelvy with concomitant preventive medication. This means that the patients enrolled in the trial were already taking a medication to prevent migraines, and they took Ubrelvy to determine if a further reduction in migraine symptoms was reported.
In this study Ubrelvy was found to provide further relief to migraine sufferers taking preventative medication. Around 42% of patients taking Ubrelvy and preventative medication had a complete reduction in migraine symptoms after 2 hours, while only around 19% of patients taking preventative medication and a placebo had a similar reduction in migraine scores. Thus Ubrelvy was around twice as effective as placebo when combined with preventative medication.
We can conclude from the available research that Ubrelvy is likely to be effective for treating migraine symptoms.
How Does Ubrelvy Work?
Ubrelvy is in a class of medications called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists. According to the medication’s website, this type of medication has an analgesic (pain-reducing) effect because it binds to receptors in the brain that cause pain and inflammation linked to migraine symptoms.
These claims by the drug manufacturer appear to be backed by medical research. A medical review of Ubrelby published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy journal documents that CGRP levels are especially elevated during a migraine attack, and that they may be constantly elevated in patients who suffer from regular migraines. By antagonizing the receptor site, Ubrelvy provides relief.
The research review also notes how quickly Ubrelvy is absorbed by the body: its peak concentration in the blood occurs between 0.7 and 1.5 hours after intake, so this medication is able to provide relatively rapid relief.
Ubrelvy Side Effects
Like most prescription medications, Ubrelvy has side effects. The good news about this drug is that its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) label contains no “black box” warning which is the most severe type of warning in regard to side effects. Many popular prescription medications contain this warning, as we detailed in our recent Ozempic reviews article of a medication which contains this type of FDA warning.
A medical study evaluated the side effects of Ubrevly and found that the most common were nausea, drowsiness and dry mouth. These side effects were experienced in a range of 0.4% to 4.1% of patients. These side effects are relatively mild compared to the side effect profile of many prescription medications, and a frequency of under 5% is relatively low.
There were a few patients in the Ubrelvy trials that experienced more severe side effects. 1 patient had a spontaneous abortion (0.2% of trial participants), 1 patient had a pericardial effusion (a heart condition which is typically treatable) and 1 patient experienced a seizure.
Ubrelvy is typically prescribed at two doses: 50 milligrams (mg) and 100 mg. The two doses appear similarly effective based on research studies.
The medical review linked in the previous section compared the efficacy of Ubrelvy at 50 mg and 100 mg. 19.2% of patients taking a 50 mg dose experienced a total relief of pain, while 21.2% of patients taking 100 mg dose experienced a total relief of pain.
This slightly improved outcome at the higher dose would initially suggest that it’s more effective, but only 37.7% of patients on the higher dose “had freedom” from their most bothersome migraine symptom after 2 hours while 38.6% of patients on the lower dose did.
These results suggest that the 50 mg dosage may be the more logical choice, since there are typically worse side effects at higher doses. If a lower and a higher dose show similar efficacy, it seems logical to select the lower dose since there may be a lower risk of side effects.
We recommend that patients speak with their doctor about these results and speak with them about whether the lower dose of Ubrelvy may be the better option for them.
The cost of Ubrelvy appears surprisingly high, at least for patients in the U.S. without health insurance. GoodRx shows the cost of Ubrelvy as ranging between $900 and $1,000 at the time of writing this article.
Ubrelvy does offer a coupon on the Savings page of their website which suggests that some patients may be able to pay as little as $0 for medication fills with a “U-Save” card.
We definitely recommend that patients considering Ubrelvy contact both their doctor and health insurer to see what the subsidized cost of this medication may be, because it appears to be one of the more expensive medications we’ve reviewed based on the prices showing on GoodRx.
Should I Take Ubrelvy Generic?
As we discussed in the intro section of this article, the generic form of Ubrelvy is called ubrogepant. These two medications should theoretically be equally effective, because they contain the exact same active compound; Ubrelvy is just the generic version.
We generally recommend that patients speak with their doctor about the generic version of a drug rather than the brand-name version, because they should be similarly effective but the generic version is often far cheaper. This consideration may be even more important for a drug with relatively high prices like Ubrelvy.
A medical review compared the effectiveness of branded versus generic medications and found that outside of a few rare exceptions, the two classes of drugs were equally effective on average.
Ubrelvy Vs. Nurtec
Nurtec is another popular migraine medication that’s often prescribed by U.S. doctors, so patients are often curious which of the two medications is more effective.
These two medications have been compared head-to-head in a clinical trial published in 2022. The researchers found that Nurtec was slightly more effective for both rate of pain freedom at 2 hours and sustained pain freedom. Nurtec was also slightly superior at providing pain freedom in the range of 2-24 hours after intake of medication.
These results suggest that migraine patients may want to consider Nurtec over Ubrelvy, but this is just one trial so it’s too early to make a definitive conclusion that one medication is superior to the other in our opinion.
Natural Migraine Treatment Option
Turmeric extract may be an effective and natural anti-migraine treatment based on medical research. We’re not suggesting that this is as effective as Ubrelvy, just that it may be a good option for patients who may not be able to afford or access Ubrelvy, or who have more minor migraines and may want to try something natural before speaking with their doctor about prescription medication.
A medical trial published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine in 2021 examined the efficacy of curcumin supplementation for migraine relief. Curcumin is the active chemical compound in turmeric, and most turmeric extract supplements are standardized to 95% curcuminoids.
One fascinating result from this trial was that CGRP levels were reduced significantly (from 194.72 ng/dl to 150) in the group taking curcumin, but levels were unchanged in the placebo group. Remember from the previous section that this peptide is thought to be responsible for much of the pain felt during a migraine attack.
The group taking curcumin supplements experienced around a 50% drop in severity and frequency of migraines, which was a much better result than the group taking placebo. We believe this early research suggests that turmeric extract (or curcumin alone) may be a useful first-line option for patients considering a natural treatment for migraines.
The curcumin dose used in the trial was a 1 gram (g) daily dose.
Ubrelvy User Reviews
We find that Drugs.com provides a useful resource for patients to evaluate user reviews of medications. Their Ubrelvy user reviews page has an average rating of 5.5 out of 10 stars. We cannot guarantee the authenticity of these reviews.
The most liked positive review of Ubrelvy is written by a user called “Darthloco” who gave the medication a 9 out of 10 star review, and claims that Ubrelvy significantly reduced their migraine pain and improved their quality of life:
“Ubrelvy has been a medication that for the first time in my life pursuing treatment showing any efficacy to drop my pain index 3+ points! Not perfect, typically 6-8 hours of diminished intensity of pain/affects on my system.”
The most liked negative review of Ubrelvy is written by a user called “Chachel” who gave the medication a 1 out of 10 star review, and claims that the medication was ineffective for them and that they experienced discomforting side effects:
“I used the samples this past week and it didn't touch my migraine. In fact I think it made it worse. I also got very nauseous, and that continued even after violently vomiting. It made me very sleepy, and I felt terrible the rest of the day. I woke up the next morning feeling very strange.”
Ubrelvy Reviewed By Doctor Specializing in Headaches
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Ubrelvy comes from a doctor named Alexander Krob whose YouTube channel is called “The Headache Channel.”
He published an unsponsored review of Ubrelvy explaining how the medication works and whether it can be effective for reducing migraines: