New Therapy May Prevent Tough-to-Treat Migraines

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Blockbuster ambitions: Amgen/Novartis team lines up more promising PhIII erenumab data for some of the toughest migraine patients

Erenumab, and meds like it, target "calcitonin gene-related peptide" (CGRP).

"These compelling data offer new hope of fewer migraine days to those people with migraine who may have cycled through current standard of care unsuccessfully for years due to lack of efficacy and tolerability".

"In so doing, erenumab very safely blocks a good deal of the migraines from occurring in the first place", Berliner said.

The Phase IIIb LIBERTY trial assessed Aimovig (erenumab) in episodic migraine patients who had previously tried two to four therapies without success, thus representing a "uniquely difficult-to-treat population often excluded from migraine prevention trials", the firm noted. The study was supported by Novartis Pharma AG.

"Our study found that erenumab reduced the average number of monthly migraine headaches by more than 50% for almost a third of study participants", said study author Uwe Reuter from the University Medicine Berlin in Germany. Of these 39 percent had earlier been treated unsuccessfully with two other anti-migraine medications, 38 percent were earlier treated with three other medications and 23 percent were unsuccessful with even four medications.

After three months, those treated with erenumab were nearly three times as likely to have fewer days with migraine pain, compared to people who'd only gotten the placebo.

A self-injected drug could free people from the misery of migraines by halving the number of headaches, according to the Daily Mail.

They also experienced better physical function and could reduce the number of days they had to take drugs to prevent their migraines.

Of all the participants, 30 percent treated with erenumab said their migraine frequency drop by half.

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Study co-author Dr. Uwe Reuter of The Charité - University Medicine Berlin in Germany told Newsweek that these particular patients make the study especially noteworthy. None of the patients who were put on the new drug Erenumab had to discontinue the drug because they experienced side effects.

"Our results show that people who thought their migraines were hard to prevent may actually have hope of finding pain relief", said Reuter.

What's the next step?

As many as 246 people who suffered from treatment-resistant migraines four to 14 times a month were recruited for the study.

The researchers added that larger studies are also needed to evaluate the long-term safety and effectiveness of the medication.

The condition, which causes severe thunderclap headaches, affects three times as many women as men.

"Migraine is a serious, chronic neurological disease with a profound and limiting impact on patients' abilities to carry out everyday tasks", said Vas Narasimhan, MD, who is now CEO of Novartis.

For these people, the new findings - to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 70th Annual Meeting, held in Los Angeles, CA - may bring some much-needed relief.

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