For those who suffer from migraines, you know that they can often be debilitating. A day with a migraine is one spent hoarded up in a room, shades drawn, eyes shut tight, wishing for sleep to provide relief from the pain. Two new drug studies are changing the way that a medicine looks at treating migraines. Rather than working to stop the migraine once it has started, these drugs are aimed at preventing the migraine from occurring in the first place. Although both drugs need more studies conducted before their effectiveness can be confirmed, so far the results look promising.
The two drug studies were released Tuesday at the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting, taking place in Philadelphia from April 26 to May 3. According to the press release, both drugs involve the use of a calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. This was previously thought to be useful in treating migraines but was never before used in medication.
One study, for a drug named ALD403, involved 163 participants who experienced five to 14 days with a migraine in an average month. They received either a placebo or the test medication and were followed for 24 weeks. Results showed that those who received the ALD403 had 5.6 fewer migraine days per month. This was a decrease of 66 percent. In comparison, those who had the placebo had 4.6 fewer migraine days per month, experiencing a decrease of only 52 percent. In a 12-week period, 16 percent of participants experienced no migraines. These results did not occur for any of those who received the placebo. There was no difference in side effects between those taking the drug and those taking the placebo.
The second study was for a drug called LY2951742. The 217 participants described having migraines for an average of four to 14 days per month. Their results were similar, with a larger decrease in migraines in the group taking the drug as opposed to the placebo. However, in this study, participants taking the drug were more likely to have pain at the injection site, upper respiratory tract infections, and abdominal pain. Still the drug was considered to be safe and well-tolerated.
“These results may potentially represent a new era in preventive therapy for migraine,” Peter Goadsby, a member of the American Academy of Neurology and an author in both studies, explained in a recent press release. Although migraines are fairly common, there is a lack of medication that both works and is well tolerated. There is a need for migraine medication. It is the third most common and seventh most disabling medical disorder in the world. “We’re cautiously optimistic that a new era of mechanism-based migraine prevention is beginning,” David Dodick of Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and also an author on both studies, concluded in the press release.