Could these two new drugs stop migraines?
Researchers have found a new target for preventing migraine headache before they begin. Two new drugs have been studied that could help with prevention of the headaches.The migraine treatment is a new approach that targets genes.
Two new studies highlight the effectiveness of using monoclonal antibodies that target the calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. CGRP. The gene has been thought to be an important contributor to migraine headache.
New migraine drugs first of a kind
The novel drugs were tested in two phase II studies.
One study included 163 people with migraine headaches that occurred one to four times a month. Part of the group received and IV dose of a drug called ALD403 and the other placebo. They were followed for 24-months.
ALD403 reduced the number of migraines 66 percent compared to placebo. Sixteen percent reported no migraine headache at 12-weeks, compared to the placebo group whose headaches continued.
In a second study 217 people were given twice a week injections of either a placebo or a drug called LY2951742 for 12 weeks. The drug is injected under the skin, or subcutaneously.
The group who received the medication had a 63 percent decrease in headaches compared to 43 percent fewer migraines in the placebo group.
Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, of the UC San Francisco and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, who is an author on both studies.said in a press release: "These results may potentially represent a new era in preventive therapy for migraine.”
Migraines are debilitating and difficult to treat. Current medications have side effects that are often intolerable. Narcotics that are often used can sometimes make migraine headaches worse.
David Dodick, MD, of Mayo Clinic Arizona in Phoenix and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, who was also an author on both studies said, “There is a huge treatment need for migraine – the third most common and seventh most disabling medical disorder in the world.”
Dodick added the researchers are "cautiously optimistic" that monoclonal antibodies could stop migraine headaches before they begin. The drugs could be the start of a new era for migraine prevention, depending on the outcome of larger, long-term studies. In fact, recently FDA gave an approval to a battery powered migraine prevention device called TENS unit. This could possibly herald a new era in migraine prevention and treatment.
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