Research on Preventive Drugs Raises Hopes in the Migraine Community

For chronic migraine patients, the only thing better than making a headache stop is preventing it altogether.  And new research suggests that patients may soon have new options for doing just that.

Phase III clinical trials for a biologic drug called “fremanezumab” show promising results, the pharmaceutical manufacturer Teva announced last week.  The therapy provided a statistically significant reduction in the number of headache days that trial participants experienced during the month following initial dosing.  Patients also demonstrated improvement in response rate and efficacy.  Responses were compared against placebo.

The drug targets calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP, which is involved in the experience of migraine pain.  Several other variations of CGRP inhibitor drugs are also in development, though fremanezumab is the first to demonstrate efficacy for quarterly dosing.

Migraine is most often experienced as a severe, throbbing headache accompanied by vision disturbances and, for some, vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.  Nearly one in every four U.S. households includes someone with migraine.  The disease disproportionately affects women and is number one cause of neurological disability in the United States.

“CGRP drugs could allow patients to reclaim control over their day-to-day lives, limiting migraine’s ability to disrupt their work and interfere with their family responsibilities,” noted Lindsay Videnieks, director of the Headache and Migraine Policy Forum.  “We urge regulators to give these therapies their full consideration in a timely manner.”

The drug’s manufacturer plans to submit a Biologics License Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this year.

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