Friday, July 10, 2015
Patients may now have a solution to their migraines even before the attack happens, as experts found a new class of drugs shows great potential for migraine management. These medicines are the first of its kind that specifically target prevention of migraine. Research findings show that these drugs can greatly help alleviate the symptoms of the patients.
The drug belongs to a new class called Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies. CGRP is a neurotransmitter or chemical that transmits signals within the brain and throughout the body. So far, the compounds are exhibiting favorable effects in the management of chronic migraine and frequent but intermittent migraine.
"We've known for a long time that CGRP was involved in the mechanism of migraines, so during migraine attacks you can measure elevation of CGRP in the blood of the person having the migraine," said Dr. Richard Lipton, director of the Montefiore Headache Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "If you treat it, CGRP blood levels fall."
Various pharmaceutical companies have been testing the effects of substances that target the CGRP; these companies include Amgen, Alder Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company.
Teva conducted its studies and submitted it to the American Headache Society meeting. In the phase IIb trials, where patients with migraine were tested, patients experienced a notable drop in the hours of headache experienced one week after the trial was started. Half of the said patients reported that the frequency of headache was reduced by 50 percent or more.
Lilly also presented how efficient their product is. They conducted their phase II trials by testing their product against a placebo, which were both administered every month. Amgen also presented their phase II data that reveal how their product was able to reduce the days of migraine attacks by 50 percent in half of their study participants in a span of 12 weeks. Alder Pharmaceutical also demonstrated their phase II trial results, but specific details were not presented at the meeting.
"The potential of these new compounds is enormous and gives us real hope that effective specific treatments for migraine may be on the near horizon," said Peter J. Goadsby, MD, PhD, Chief of the UCSF Headache Center and chair of the American Headache Society's annual Scientific Meeting. "The development of CGRP antibodies offers the simple, yet elegant and long awaited option for migraine patients to finally be treated with migraine preventives; it's a truly landmark development."
In America, more than 36 million people have migraine, which is far more than the incidence of patients with diabetes and asthma combines. Chronic migraine, which is characterized by 15 migraine days monthly, is experienced by approximately four million Americans.
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