The First Breakthrough in Migraine Therapy in 20 Years
If you’re one of the 10% of the people in the world who experience painful headaches due to migraines, a new drug could immensely improve the quality of your life and cut the length of the migraine attacks by half. This new breakthrough therapy is the first effective treatment for migraine sufferers in 20 years that has given scientists some hope of treating this acute headache disorder.
Incurable Until Now
Migraines aren’t like any other normal headache. Those who understand or suffer from the disorder know how painful and debilitating these chronic headaches can become. Migraine sufferers can experience several attacks in a month consisting of sharp pain in one side of their head that lasts up to 72 hours and gets worse with light or noise exposure. In extreme cases, the headaches can also cause nausea, vomiting and temporary vision impairment.
People with this chronic disorder often continue experiencing the effects of the attack hours, and sometimes even days after the pain subsides, causing a disruption in their personal and professional lives. Migraines have been around since the ancient Egyptian era but, despite trying to find its cure for more than two decades, scientists have not been able to crack the code – until now.
A Breakthrough that Actually Works
A new drug called Erenumab has been designed by scientists that can cut the number of migraine attacks in a month by half. The initial trial to test the effectiveness of the drug involved 955 patients, who suffered from an average of 8 attacks per month, divided into three different groups: group A with 317 people was given a dose of 70 mg of Erenumab, group B with 319 patients was assigned to 140 mg whereas the rest of the 319 were put in the placebo group C. After 6 months of trial, patients in group A saw a decrease of 3.2 days, Group B in 3.7 days whereas the placebo group experienced a decrease of 1.8 days.
Doctors said that patients in placebo group saw a significant decrease in migraine attacks due to their perception of pain and the psychological assurance that the treatment has a positive effect on the pain. Although, the new therapy doesn’t cure migraines completely, scientists believe that it is a step in the positive direction and may be a start of real improvement.
How Effective is the New Migraine Therapy?
The number of migraine sufferers around the world is significantly larger than that of asthma and diabetes sufferers all together, and can cost a patient a lot of money for treatments that aren’t very effective. Erenumab is a synthetic antibody that prevents migraines from occurring by blocking the CGRP, a key neural pathway that causes the headaches in the first place.
Scientists claim that it is the first migraine treatment that has been rationally developed in lab instead of being accidentally found. The findings of the phase three trial, which showed that migraine attacks in those patients who received the therapy was cut in half, was later published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers emphasized that the key to mitigating the harmful effects of migraines lies in inhibiting the CGRP receptor in the brain, and with this new knowledge, scientists can work towards creating a more effective treatment in the future. The first trial of the new therapy definitely showed promising results but it’s hard to measure the effectiveness of Erenumab without a direct comparison with other treatments.
The treatment, co-developed by Novartis and Amgen, revealed that even though there was tremendous improvement in migraine sufferers who were treated with the new drug, the difference between the placebo group and the Erenumab groups wasn’t as significant as the researchers had hoped. The two drug companies have also begun the manufacturing process of Erenumab in order to commercialize in most developed countries. The companies haven’t received an approval from FDA to commercialize the treatment in the U.S. yet but, the team hopes that by presenting the finding from phase 3 trials, they will be able to get approval from the regulatory agencies.
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