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27 October 2021

Whoopi's View on Migraine

This blog is sponsored but reflects my personal experience. 

Whoopi Goldberg needs no introduction. Who doesn’t know the great EGOT that is Whoopi? She’s one of the rare people who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award. She’s the penultimate actor. She’s our favorite auntie in our heads. Most importantly, Whoopi is just like us. Just in case you never heard of Whoopi Goldberg or know of her background you can read her bio here

When I heard that Whoopi was the new celebrity spokesperson for Nurtec® ODT (rimegepant), the first and only FDA-approved migraine treatment for both the acute treatment of migraine and preventive treatment of episodic migraine in adults, I was beyond excited. Throughout my time working in migraine advocacy, there has been a lack of BIPOC celebrity representation when it comes to relating to the experience of living with migraine disease. Yes, we know of several who live with migraine but there hasn’t been a relevant voice people of color could relate to on a regular basis. 

My first memory of watching Whoopi Goldberg was in The Color Purple when I was around 8 or 9 years old. That movie became an instant favorite of mine and so did Whoopi. I grew up with her movies and the Comic Relief specials my dad used to watch. She is one of my favorite people on the planet. Her humor, humanitarianism, sincerity, unwavering self-confidence and self-identity, and pure talent all made Whoopi that auntie in my head. 

With Whoopi sharing her journey and experience living with migraine, it has made me feel seen in a way I haven’t before. Representation matters. She is tangible, attainable, familiar, and down-to-earth. Whoopi is real and we really need that realness in the migraine and headache community. So, when I had an opportunity to request an interview with her, I went for it. I wanted to know more about her life with migraine and share that with all of you. 

Nurtec® ODT (rimegepant) 75 mg is for the acute treatment of migraine and the preventive treatment of episodic migraine in adults. Prescription-only. Individual results may vary. Don’t take if allergic to Nurtec ODT. The most common side effects were nausea and stomach pain/indigestion. 

The First of Many 

Whoopi was a young woman when she had her first migraine attack. She would get bad menstrual cramps and she explained her attack felt as if those cramps moved to her head. And her vision changed. They were what Whoopi calls sparkles and silver twists, just like you would see if you were looking through a kaleidoscope. What Whoopi was experiencing was a migraine with visual aura which typically peaks in women in their early 20s. 

There weren’t many answers to why Whoopi started getting these attacks. She basically resorted to what we all do or have done — “lie down, crawl into a ball, and hope for the best.” Some days migraine would hit really, really hard, and other days it would linger in the background letting Whoopi know that it was still around. This cycle of pain continued for years with no real relief. 

A New View on Relief 

Whoopi had tried a lot of different therapies and has heard many reasons as to why she has migraine. But nothing really helped in the long term. Then one day, Khloé Kardashian had a conversation with Whoopi and suggested that she give Nurtec ODT a try because “it’s been very helpful for her.” 

At first, Whoopi was not convinced because there are so many products on the market claiming to help get rid of migraine but had not worked for her. However, Khloé convinced Whoopi to call her doctor and ask about trying Nurtec ODT for her migraine. Which she did and shortly after received a prescription from her doctor. 

And if you get them, it might help relieve your migraine attacks. So, I said okay. I said to my doctor listen, we need to talk about this. Because I would like not to be fearful on a daily basis that I'm going to hit a point in the day and then I'm going to see the silver heading my way and not be able to do anything at all.

What A Difference A (Dissolving) Pill Makes 

Many of us with migraine are used to having to swallow a pill and then wait for any level of relief. Nurtec ODT works differently as it is an oral dissolvable tablet, hence ODT. You don’t need to drink any water to take it. It dissolves under the tongue which makes it super easy and convenient to use at any time or any place. 

For Whoopi, this was an important moment in her migraine journey. Panic and fear always set in when she sees the migraine coming. Panic in having to find somewhere to lay down and fear of the kaleidoscope of silver and stars and pain that were imminently coming. Once Whoopi got her Nurtec ODT out of the package and realized no water was needed to take it, some of the panic started to settle down. 

What Whoopi loves most about Nurtec ODT is that it is in her bag and she can take it anywhere at any time without any water. “I don't need water. You know, I don't need water. I can just take it and know that relief is on the way,” she explains. The relief this medication gives to Whoopi makes her feel like dancing and telling everybody to talk to their doctor about it. “If you get migraines, I want to say go to your doctor, let them know that there may be something out there that can help you. That Nurtec ODT might be something that works for you. I can't say that it will. Everybody has to do it on their own. And if it does, if it works for you, tell everybody you know.” 

Life After Nurtec ODT 

We all want to beat migraine, and no one understands that more than Whoopi. That’s always been her goal. After taking Nurtec ODT for the first time her migraine was gone and that was something she had not experienced in a long time. “I realized that it meant there was one fear I didn't have to carry anymore,” Whoopi explains. Migraine is that thief that lurks around the corner waiting to disrupt your life. Fear is synonymous with migraine disease. But there is always hope. 

Now that I've been living with Nurtec ODT, I cuss a migraine out when it dares to come and tell me it's in the house. Get out!

It makes me feel less invisible to know that even monumental celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg experience the same emotions we do when it comes to living with and managing migraine. It really doesn’t matter who you are in life, migraine disease steals from anyone who has it. It is also refreshing to hear words of optimism and hope from those we look up to. 

Whoopi shared some important words during our conversation that really left a mark on me. It reminded me that she is a human being going through this journey like the rest of us and all she wants is to provide hope in the same way we try to do for each other. No matter where you are on the migraine spectrum, this quote may resonate with you. 

“And so, if you are a sufferer of migraines, this is something that can give you peace of mind. That, as you said, you might not be able to get everything, you know, it may not stop everything, but it may stop more than you had before.

And I feel like anything that gives you more than you had before, can only be helpful. 

So that's what I'm saying to people. I'm saying, listen, I don't know if it'll work for you. This is what it did for me. If it did this for me, it might do something for you as well. So, what's the worst that could happen? It actually might work for you.”

— Whoopi Goldberg

Important Safety Information: 

Do not take Nurtec ODT if you are allergic to Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) or any of its ingredients. 

Before you take Nurtec ODT, tell your healthcare provider (HCP) about all your medical conditions, including if you: 

have liver problems, 

have kidney problems, 

are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, 

breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. 

Tell your HCP about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. 

Nurtec ODT may cause serious side effects including allergic reactions, including trouble breathing, and rash. This can happen days after you take Nurtec ODT. Call your HCP or get emergency help right away if you have swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat or trouble breathing. This occurred in less than 1% of patients treated with Nurtec ODT. 

The most common side effects of Nurtec ODT were nausea (2.7%) and stomach pain/indigestion (2.4%). These are not the only possible side effects of Nurtec ODT. Tell your HCP if you have any side effects. 

You are encouraged to report side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088 or report side effects to Biohaven at 1-833-4Nurtec. 


Nurtec ODT orally disintegrating tablets is a prescription medicine that is used to treat migraine in adults. It is for the acute treatment of migraine attacks with or without aura and the preventive treatment of episodic migraine. It is not known if Nurtec ODT is safe and effective in children.

See full Prescribing Information and Patient Information

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