LIFESTYLE

New Drug Injections May Help Prevent Migraines, Scientists Claim

23/04/2014 16:10 | Updated 23 April 2014

If you're one of the millions of migraine sufferers in the UK, hope may be on the horizon.

Preliminary trials are underway for two drugs that may help prevent migraines among frequent sufferers, scientists have revealed.

The drugs - one given by IV and one by injection - halved migraine attacks during clinical trials that lasted for several weeks.

migraine

Although further testing is required before the drugs will be considered for NHS use, the recent developments show potential for a drastic change in treatment for migraine sufferers.

A migraine is usually a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or on one side of the head, although sufferers have reported different symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light, according to the NHS.

Migraine is a common health condition that affects around 15% of adults in the UK, three quarters of whom are women.

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In the trial, scientists targeted a tiny protein called the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which is key in processing pain during migraines.

The participants were split into two groups.

In the first group, 81 patients were given a single IV dose of the drug ALD403 and 82 were given a placebo. The former group saw a 66% reduction in the number of migraines over the next eight weeks while 16% stopped having migraines entirely. The placebo group reported a 52% decrease in migraine frequency.

In the second group, 217 people were given fortnightly injections of LY2951742 drug and reported a fall of 63%.

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Despite the exciting findings, experts stress the need for further investigation.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that a new era of mechanism-based migraine prevented is beginning,” David Dodick, of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, lead author of the second study, said in a statement.

“Migraine remains poorly treated and there are few effective and well — tolerated treatments approved that prevent attacks from occurring. There is a huge treatment need for migraine — the third most common and seventh most disabling medical disorder in the world.”

Andrew Dowson, chairman of the medical advisory board for the charity Migraine Action, told The Times: “There are still many hurdles to overcome with regards to testing efficacy, side effects and also how economically viable the treatment will be for patients, and, even if successful, it will be some years before patients can access these options.

“However, research into migraine is badly needed and we welcome these new studies. We will continue to monitor the progress of this particular group of drugs with interest.”

The findings were presented at American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Philadelphia.

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