New drugs offer hope for migraine prevention

April 22, 2014, American Academy of Neurology

Two new studies may offer hope for people with migraine. The two studies released today will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.

Both studies involve drugs that are aimed at preventing attacks from occurring, rather than stopping the attacks once they have started. These studies are the first to test monoclonal antibodies for the prevention of migraine, and both are directed against a relatively new target in migraine prevention, the calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. CGRP has been thought to be important in migraine, but never have drugs been developed to specifically target the protein.

Both are phase II studies, meaning larger studies are needed to confirm the results.

One study involved 163 people who had migraine from five to 14 days per month. They received either a placebo or a single IV dose of a called ALD403 and then were followed for 24 weeks. Those who received the drug had an average of 5.6 fewer migraine days per month, a 66-percent decrease, compared to 4.6 fewer days per month for those who received a placebo, or a 52-percent decrease. Sixteen percent of those who received the drug had no migraine days at 12 weeks, while none of those who received the placebo were free from migraine at that point.

There were no differences in side effects between those receiving the drug and those receiving the placebo.

"These results may potentially represent a new era in preventive therapy for migraine," said Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, of the UC San Francisco and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, who is an author on both studies.

"Migraine remains poorly treated, and there are few effective and well tolerated treatments approved that prevent attacks from occurring," said David Dodick, MD, of Mayo Clinic Arizona in Phoenix and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, who was also an author on both studies. "There is a huge treatment need for migraine – the third most common and seventh most disabling medical disorder in the world."

In the other study, 217 people who had migraine four to 14 days per month received biweekly subcutaneous injections of either a placebo or a drug called LY2951742 for 12 weeks.

Those who received the drug had an average of 4.2 fewer migraine days per month at 12 weeks, or a 63-percent decrease, while those who received had 3 fewer migraine days per month, or a 42-percent decrease. Those who received the drug were more likely to have side effects including pain at the injection site, upper and abdominal pain, but overall the drug was considered to be safe and well-tolerated.

"We're cautiously optimistic that a new era of mechanism-based is beginning," Dodick said.

Explore further: Can nerve stimulation help prevent migraine?

Related Stories

Can nerve stimulation help prevent migraine?

February 6, 2013
Wearing a nerve stimulator for 20 minutes a day may be a new option for migraine sufferers, according to new research published in the February 6, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy ...

Does more stress equal more headaches?

February 19, 2014
A new study provides evidence for what many people who experience headache have long suspected—having more stress in your life leads to more headaches. The study released today will be presented at the American Academy ...

FDA approves electric headband to prevent migraine

March 11, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it approved a Belgium-made nerve-stimulating headband as the first medical device to prevent migraine headaches.

Obesity may be associated with even occasional migraines

September 11, 2013
People who get occasional migraines are more likely to be obese than people who do not have migraines, according to a study published in the September 11, 2013, online issue of Neurology.

Migraine may permanently change brain structure

August 28, 2013
Migraine may have long-lasting effects on the brain's structure, according to a study published in the August 28, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Recommended for you

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

January 16, 2018
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative "geniuses" like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in ...

Even without nudging blood pressure up, high-salt diet hobbles the brain

January 16, 2018
A high-salt diet may spell trouble for the brain—and for mental performance—even if it doesn't push blood pressure into dangerous territory, new research has found.

Brain imaging predicts language learning in deaf children

January 15, 2018
In a new international collaborative study between The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, researchers created a machine learning algorithm that uses brain scans to predict ...

Preterm babies may suffer setbacks in auditory brain development, speech

January 15, 2018
Preterm babies born early in the third trimester of pregnancy are likely to experience delays in the development of the auditory cortex, a brain region essential to hearing and understanding sound, a new study reveals. Such ...

BOLD view of white matter

January 15, 2018
The brain consists of gray matter, which contains the nerve cell bodies (neurons), and white matter, bundles of long nerve fibers (axons) that until recently were considered passive transmitters of signals between different ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.