Published: Fri, December 01, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Treatment cuts migraine days by half

Treatment cuts migraine days by half

"The burden of illness faced by those with migraine is vast and can negatively impact every facet of their lives underscoring a significant unmet need for new preventive treatment options".

The drug reduced the days where patients suffered from migraine attacks. There are several medications that are being prescribed for migraines and for many these do not work well.

However, those given a placebo also saw benefits, with 26.6% of participants in this group experiencing such a reduction. The two drugs are Erenumab and Fremanezumab.

Lipton noted that there has been a "staggering record of success" in regards to the monoclonal antibody class of medicines.

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Over the six-month trial, patients receiving Erenumab, who had an average of eight migraines per month at the start of the trial, reported having an average of five migraines per month following the treatment.

The exact cause of migraine is still unknown but scientists believe the pain and sensitivity to light associated with the condition is linked to a chemical in the brain called calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. One group received 70 milligrams (mg) of the drug by injection once a month.

In the second study Fremanezumab was given both as a monthly injection and a quarterly injection to the patients.

Additionally, the data showed that erenumab patients had their migraine days cut by at least half - almost a threefold better performance than placebo - and reported reduced physical impairment and improved ability to participate in daily activities.

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It's not exactly clear how the drugs help disrupt migraines, but CGRP is known to be involved with the way nerves control pain and with blood vessel activity. Less than 27 percent of those given the placebo had a similar response. A new migraine therapy has been discovered that halved the number of headaches experienced each month in about 50% of study participants. Those given the placebo had 2.5 fewer days with headache.

"It clearly shows that blocking this pathway can reduce the impact of a migraine", said Dr. Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology at King's College London, who led the Phase III clinical trial.

Increased levels of CGRP have been reported in migraine and temporomandibular joint disorder patients as well as a variety of other diseases such as cardiac failure, hypertension, and sepsis.

Pharmaceutical company Novartis, which makes the drug, has now applied for a medical license in the United States and Europe.

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The researchers say their results "suggest that erenumab may be useful for the prevention of episodic migraine", but "further trials are needed to determine the long-term safety of erenumab and the durability of its effects". According to the World Health Organisation migraine is the most common neurological condition in the world, affecting between 12 and 15 per cent of people.

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