Medicine

New Migraine Drugs Show Promise

New Migraine Drugs Show Promise

For the Phase III trial, 1,130 individuals with chronic migraine were randomly assigned to receive to fremanezumab quarterly, fremanezumab monthly, or placebo.

The UK media greeted the study with enthusiasm, with the Mail Online hailing it as a "Holy Grail" treatment, while The Daily Telegraph said it could "slash in half" the number of days people suffered migraines. In half of those patients, the length that the migraines lasted were reduced by at least half.

With erenumab tested on episodic migraines and fremanezumab tested on chronic, it's clear that these antibody injections have a significant impact on headaches, regardless of the frequency of occurrence.

Although there are no non-prescription cures for migraine, there are studies working on one, while others are calling for migraine medicine to be made available over the counter. The data show that fremanezumab quarterly reduced the average number of headache days per month by 4.3 days, while fremanezumab monthly led to a 4.6-day reduction.

The endpoints of the trial were evaluated from baseline to the average of the last three months. By comparison, 41 percent of those who got a monthly injection also cut their headache days by at least half, as did 18 percent of those in the placebo group.

"The results represent a real transition for migraine patients from poorly understood, repurposed treatments, to a specific migraine-designed therapy". The trial, which examined cardiovascular safety of Aimovig, found no significant differences between the treatment and placebo groups in time to onset of angina or time to onset of electrocardiogram changes consistent with onset of myocardial ischemia. Those on high dose had a migraine days reduction of 3.7 days while those on placebo had a 1.8 days reduction in the migraine days per month.

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Symptoms reported included soreness from the injection, colds and tiredness. They can leave people unable to work or do simple things like cooking or even hold a conversation.

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".

"These drugs are likely to be priced at a high point, and while insurance companies will likely cover them, they may require patients to have tried and failed at other therapies first", Safdieh said.

The World Health Organisation ranks migraines as the 7th most disabling disease worldwide and classifies severe attacks as among the most disabling illnesses, comparable to dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis.

The trial period of 6 months may not be long enough to pick up all possible side effects.

The drug has to be approved and then assessed by NICE, who will decide whether it should be prescribed on the NHS.