People who suffer from a migraine may soon have more choices when it comes medications that can help them avoid the agonizing headaches.
Galcanezumab Reduces Monthly Migraine Days
Federal health regulators have just approved the drug Aimovig, the first medicine in a new class of drugs designed to reduce the number of migraines among those who suffer from the crippling head pains frequently. Another migraine prevention drug shows promise in a clinical trial.
David Dodick, from Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, and colleagues reported in JAMA Neurology on May 29 that the experimental drug Galcanezumab reduced in half the number of days most patients suffered from a migraine in a month.
In the trial involving 858 patients who have a history of four to 14 migraines per month, the researchers found that monthly migraine days among those who received galcanezumab were reduced by 4.7 days. Monthly migraine days among the participants who received placebo were reduced to just 2.8 days.
"These data provided consistent, clinically meaningful evidence that treatment with galcanezumab reduced migraine frequency and migraine-related disability and improved patient functioning," the researchers wrote in their study.
No Significant Side Effects
The researchers likewise reported that use of the medication did not show significant side effects. The side effects of the medications were so minimal that fewer than 5 percent of the participants dropped out of the trial. Dodick said that this rate is unheard of before in migraine prevention studies.
"In contrast to what we currently have available to prevent migraine, they seem very well tolerated," Dodick said. "There are no unique side effects to these treatments."
Galcanezumab May Receive FDA Approval Soon
The researchers expect that galcanezumab, as well as a third migraine prevention drug, will be green-lighted by the FDA in the coming months.
Approval of the drug is expected to be a welcome news for cost-conscious migraine sufferers. The estimated cost of Aimovig is $7,000 a year, which it can ask considering it's the only approved drug for preventing migraines. This could change as similar drugs become available in the market.
A migraine is a throbbing headache that may also come with visual disturbances, nausea, and sensitivity to light. No absolute cure for a migraine is currently available since its pathophysiology still has to be fully understood.
Current treatments involve preventing the attacks or relieving the symptoms during the attacks. Migraine is more common in women than men. Nearly one in four households in the United States has someone with a migraine.