Migraines are not simply headaches. They are chronic by nature and can go from mild to debilitating. Unlike the normal headache, a migraine is often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vision disturbances, dizziness and sensitivity to sound and light. Statistics show that 1 in 4 Americans suffers from migraine. The good news is that scientists are experimenting with new drugs that could prevent migraines in people who have several attacks monthly.
One of the new drugs that could prevent migraines is given by IV and the other one by injection. These drugs are part of a new experimental approach of preventing migraines. They are called “monoclonal antibodies” and they target a protein called CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) which apparently is involved in triggering the migraine pain attacks.
In one of the studies with the new drugs, the patients involved saw a 66% reduction in the migraine attacks over a period of five to 8 weeks after a dose of one the new drugs known for now as ALD403. The results were compared with a 52% decrease among patients who have been given a placebo drug.
These findings are scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology at their annual meeting in Philadelphia but the experts say that the results are preliminary and there are still many questions remaining.
Dr. Peter Goadsby who worked on both studies says that migraine sufferers can “take heart” that the new drugs that could prevent migraines are under development. Dr. Goadsby also said that at the moment the drugs used to treat migraines were originally developed for other conditions like depression, high blood pressure and anti-seizure drugs. In contrast to these old drugs, the new ones are the first “designer drugs” for the prevention of migraines, so far.
The trial testing for the IV and the ALD403 drugs included 163 patients who were given a dose of the new drugs or a placebo infusion, randomly. Before the trial treatment all patients were suffering for 5 to 14 days of migraines attacks every month.
Five to eight weeks after the treatment the patients who were given the real drug had 5.6 fewer migraine days every month. The patients who took the placebo saw an improvement of 4.6 fewer migraine days per month.
New Drugs That Could Prevent Migraines Are On The Way
These current studies are being funded by Alder Biopharmaceuticals, the developer of the ALD403 drug and by Arteaus Therapeutics who develops the LY2951742 drug.