Migraines are seriously painful, and while most of us get them pretty rarely, there are some people who deal with debilitating headaches each and every day. A new migraine therapy has been discovered that halved the number of headaches experienced each month in about 50% of study participants.
Migraine Therapy Facts
- One out of every seven people deal with regular migraine attacks
- Migraines are around three times more common in women than men
- According to The Migraine Trust, there are almost 200,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK.
- Patients with headaches on less than half of the days each month have episodic migraines
- Patients with headaches on more than half of the days each month have chronic migraines.
Previous research has shown that a chemical in the brain called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is the main cause of both pain and sensitivity to sound and light during a migraine attack. Multiple drug companies are working on developing antibodies that can neutralize CGRP. Some of these methods bind to CGRP itself, and others block the part of the brain cell with which it interacts.
Antibody Clinical Results
There have been clinical trials published on two of these antibodies in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The first antibody, erenumab, is developed by Novartis and trialed on 955 patients that experienced episodic migraines. At the beginning of the trial, patients experienced an average of 8 migraines a month, and about 50% of those given the antibody injections had a 50% reduced occurrence.
The second antibody, fremanezumab, is developed by Teva pharmaceuticals and trialed on 1130 patients with chronic migraine. Around 41% of patients halved migraine occurrences after antibody treatment.
Migraine Therapy Significance
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.
In a discussion with BBC, Professor Peter Goadsby — leader of the erenumab trials — stated that “It’s a huge deal because it offers an advance in understanding the disorder and a designer migraine treatment…These patients will have parts of their life back, and society will have these people back functioning.”
While these two drugs are extremely effective, this research breakthrough is likely to lead to even more success moving forward. Now that drug companies have a basic understanding of how to target CGRP, quick advancements in available medication for migraine sufferers is soon to follow. Antibody migraine therapy offers hope to patients with a condition that’s notoriously difficult to treat.
Is Antibody Treatment a Better Option?
These new antibody drugs are not the only preventative measures for migraines. Former epilepsy and heart disease pills play double duty as a headache treatment, and botox is another effective alternative. Unfortunately, these existing treatments come with a lot of side effects. Scientists hope that this new antibody treatment should address migraines with fewer unpleasant downsides.
By directly targeting CGRP, this new form of migraine therapy may allow migraine sufferers to live normal lives without debilitating sensitivity and pain. Researchers remain cautiously optimistic, stating that studies still need to be conducted to determine the long term safety and efficacy of this new migraine therapy — but these early results are definitely promising.