Monthly dose of new antibody may halve migraine attacks

A self-injected drug could free people from migraines halving headache numbers

A self-injected drug could free people from migraines halving headache numbers

For those given erenumab, migraine days were reduced by 1.6 times more than those given a placebo and acute medication days were reduced by 1.7 times more than participants given a placebo. It's a long-lasting injection given monthly, and it is meant to stop migraines before they begin.

Erenumab works by targeting a receptor in the brain where a protein associated with migraines would usually bind. Overall, erenumab reduced the average number of migraine headaches by more than 50 percent for almost a third of the patients, as opposed to only 14 percent in the placebo group.

The Thousand Oaks biotech said 246 patients who had experienced two to four previous preventive treatment failures were randomized to receive monthly injections of either Aimovig or a placebo for 12 weeks. This CGRP is a molecule that can transmit the signals of pain during an attack of migraine. Of the participants, 39 percent had been treated unsuccessfully with two other medications, 38 percent with three medications and 23 percent with four medications. Current medicines for migraines are often "repurposed" - meaning that they were originally created to treat other conditions, including blood pressure or epilepsy.

Patients also had a 100% reduction in monthly migraine days, and an improved physical functioning and ability to complete everyday activities as measured by the Migraine Physical Function Impact Diary (MPFID) scales, researchers found. They experienced an average of nine migraine headaches a month and took acute migraine medicine to stop an attack five times a month. 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.

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What's particularly promising about erenumab is that it is the first-ever migraine drug designed for prevention. The success of available migraine prophylaxis treatments is often limited by inadequate effectiveness, adverse events and poor patient adherence partly as a result of poorly tolerated current treatment options. For some people, the attacks all but vanished.

Dr Mark Toms, Chief Scientific Officer at Novartis UK, said: "There has been no real advancement in migraine treatment for the past 20 years and we're proud to be breaking new ground in neurology for the millions of people in the UK living with the painful and disruptive symptoms of migraine".

"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", study author Dr. Uwe Reuter of The Charite- University Medicine Berlin in Germany said in an AAN press release.

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