A new drug called Erenumab offers episodic migraine sufferers a new hope after clinical trials revealed it can cut the number of migraine days per month in half.
Erenumab is an injection-based treatment and is the first effective migraine drug in two decades.
Erenumab is an antibody that alters signaling pathways in the brain called calcitonin gene-related peptide or CGRP in order to prevent migraine attacks. Previous research found that CGRP is responsible for the pain and sensitivity that migraine sufferers experience. Also, it was found to be abundantly present during migraine attacks.
Pharmaceutical company Novartis, which makes the drug, has now applied for a medical license in the United States and Europe. Once approved, the medication will then be assessed by the National Institute For Health and Care Excellence in the United Kingdom.
In the new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers tested Erenumab on a total of 955 patients who all suffered from an episodic migraine. When the trial began, these patients usually had migraines for eight days per month.
For nearly six months, about 636 patients received the antibody injections and 319 patients received a placebo.
The results show that the number of migraine attacks was cut in half for the 50 percent of all the patients. Researchers also found that around 27 percent of the patients who did not receive the treatment still had similar effects.
Additionally, the patients who received injections also reported physical improvements in their daily activities throughout the trial period.
"It clearly shows that blocking this pathway can reduce the impact of migraine," said Dr. Professor of neurology Peter Goadsby of the King's College London. "The results represent a real transition for migraine patients from poorly understood, repurposed treatments, to a specific migraine-designed therapy. It represents an incredibly important step forward for migraine understanding and migraine treatment."
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, 12 percent of the total population in the United States suffer from a migraine. It accounts that 18 percent of women, 6 percent of men, and 10 percent of children experience migraines.
Also, migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world and is most common in people who are 25 to 55 years old. Every 10 seconds, someone in the United States visits the emergency room due to a migraine.
Symptoms Of A Migraine
Migraine's main symptom is usually an intense headache that occurs on one side of the head and in some cases, on both sides including the neck and face. People who suffer from a migraine will usually experience a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that can get worse when they move, which prevents them from carrying out normal activities.