New injection treatment could help prevent migraines

A study on a new treatment that could help prevent a migraine is being called a breakthrough for migraine sufferers. 

Erenumab is an injectable drug that blocks pain signals in the brain. 

When tested on patients who failed to respond to other preventatives, it was shown to reduce the number of monthly migraines by more than 50 percent in nearly one-third of participants. 

“It’s designed for migraines, to work in migraines, to help people with migraines,” said Dr. Peter Goadsby, an internationally renowned neurologist in the field of headache and migraine. “All the migraine people will recognize a disconnect because when they see a doctor they very often get a blood pressure drug for migraine, an epilepsy drug or an antidepressant. What we’re going to do is give migraine patients a migraine drug.” 

More than 39 million Americans suffer from migraines—a condition that has debilitating symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light and sound and frequent severe pain. 

Erenumab works by targeting a receptor in the brain where a protein associated with migraines would usually bind. 

The people included in the study were considered more difficult to treat, meaning that up to four other preventative treatments hadn’t worked for them.

“Migraines are not only a terrible problem to have but this uncertainty about what you can do on a day-to-day basis is pretty debilitating—how to plan your life and this is where preventatives come into their own,” Goadsby said.  

The drug was found to have no known side effects, with no one in the sample stopping the drug due to unwanted symptoms.

The Food and Drug Administration is due to make an announcement on the drug in May. Goadsby expects Erenumab will be approved and available to patients sometime this year.