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Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

New migraine medicine could offer relief

New migraine medicine could offer relief

According to a pilot study results released yesterday (17th of April 2018), a new drug may help provide relief to people with migraine that is unsuccessfully treated with the now available drugs.

They can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. Other symptoms include nausea and light sensitivity.

People affected by episodic migraine may have up to 14 headache days a month. "All the migraine people will recognize a disconnect because when they see a doctor they very often get a blood pressure drug for migraine, an epilepsy drug or an antidepressant".

However, some migraines are so bad that not even the strongest drugs now available on the market can help.

Now a trial has found a drug which blocks pain signals in the brain can drastically reduce the number of migraine episodes. The study results would be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, between April 21st and 27th, 2018.

The drug - which is vying to become the first calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor-targeting drug to reach the market for migraine - was more than twice as likely to hit this target compared to placebo. Researchers have found that a long lasting injection of the new drug can prevent the onset of the migraine attacks by blocking the CGRP.

Of the participants, 39% had been treated unsuccessfully with two other medications, 38% with three medications and 23% with four medications.

In the LIBERTY trial, 246 patients who had experienced two to four previous preventive treatment failures were randomised to receive monthly subcutaneous injections of either erenumab 140mg or placebo for 12 weeks.

"The people we included in our study were considered more hard to treat, meaning that up to four other preventative treatments hadn't worked for them", said study author Uwe Reuter, a researcher at The Charité - University Medicine Berlin in Germany. Patients taking Aimovig had almost three-fold higher odds of having their migraine days cut by at least 50 percent. "That reduction in migraine headache frequency can greatly improve a person's quality of life". Those treated with the drug also had a greater average reduction in the number of days they had headaches and the number of days they needed to take drugs to stop the migraines. The proportion of patients achieving a ≥50 percent reduction in MMDs was higher in erenumab- versus placebo-treated patients at week 12 (30.3 versus 13.7 percent; odds ratio, 2.73).

The migraine drug is being tested by pharmaecutical companies, and there are hopes that it could soon be available on the NHS, if successful. The drug in question, Fremanezumab, was developed by Teva Pharmaceuticals. Those with over 15 attacks per month and who have failed to respond to treatment with drugs such as topiramate, propranolol and amitriptyline were included in this study. For some people, the attacks all but vanished.

"Our results show that people who thought their migraines were hard to prevent may actually have hope of finding pain relief", said Reuter.

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