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Migraine Prevention Drug Receives FDA Approval: Aimovig By Amgen Is The First Of Its Kind

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Aimovig, the first in a new kind of long-acting drug designed for migraine prevention.

Aimovig, which was developed by Amgen of California and Novartis of Switzerland, is also known as Erenumab, and it offers new hope to people who suffer from chronic migraines.

Chronic Migraine Cure Goes On Sale

Aimovig has cleared all the requirements to go on sale, after receiving approval from the FDA.

"Aimovig provides patients with a novel option for reducing the number of days with migraine," said Dr. Eric Bastings from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research of the FDA. "We need new treatments for this painful and often debilitating condition."

Aimovig is the first in a new class of drugs that will provide long-acting prevention against migraines. The treatment is provided by self-injections once per month, and it will work by blocking the activity of the calcitonin gene-related peptide. The molecule is involved in the processes that result in the migraine attacks, such as the dilation of the brain's blood vessels.

Studies on Aimovig revealed that patients with episodic or chronic migraines experienced between one and 2.5 fewer migraines monthly after receiving treatment. Meanwhile, side effects were limited to reactions on the spot where the drug was injected and constipation.

Analysts expect annual sales of Aimovig to reach almost $1 billion by 2022. The price of the chronic migraine treatment will be $6,900 per year, or $575 per month. Discounts and rebates will depend on discussions with health plan providers, according to a spokeswoman for Amgen, Kristen Davis.

Treatment For Migraine

Current treatment for migraine prevention includes pills that were originally developed against epilepsy and the wrinkle reducer Botox. However, many patients decide to abandon these options either because they are ineffective, or because of serious side effects.

Aimovig is the first of its kind in providing long-term relief for chronic migraines, but there are more on the horizon. Approval is expected for three more shots next year, and several pills for migraine prevention are currently undergoing testing.

Migraine, described as "an intense pulsing or throbbing pain," is a debilitating condition that has been extremely difficult to treat. It is the most common neurological disorder, drilling moderate to severe pain on one side or both sides of the head. Episodes may last up to several hours or even days.

With Aimovig now in the mix, chronic migraines may soon be a thing of the past.

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