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Studies showcase drugs that might help prevent migraine


Two new studies may offer hope for preventing migraine.

The two studies, scheduled for presentation at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting April 26-May 3 in Philadelphia, are described as the first to test monoclonal antibodies for the prevention of migraine. Both are directed against a relatively new target in migraine prevention, the calcitonin gene-related peptide. CGRP has been thought to be important in migraine, but drugs have not 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 drug 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% decrease, compared with 4.6 fewer days per month for those who received a placebo, or a 52% decrease. And 16% 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,” Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, an author on both studies and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said in a news release.

“Migraine remains poorly treated, and there are few effective and well-tolerated treatments approved that prevent attacks from occurring,” David Dodick, MD, of Mayo Clinic Arizona in Phoenix, also a member of the American Academy of Neurology and an author on both studies, said in the news release. “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% decrease, while those who received placebo had three fewer migraine days per month, or a 42% decrease. Those who received the drug were more likely to have side effects including pain at the injection site, upper respiratory tract infections 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 migraine prevention is beginning,” Dodick said.

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