If you’ve experienced a migraine just ONE time, you haven’t forgotten the pain. Especially if it lasted more than five or six hours.
In the U.S., more than 37 million people suffer from migraines. Some migraine studies estimate that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraines, and 2-3 million migraine sufferers are chronic.
A new drug could help those suffering from the most hard-to-treat migraines.
Research on patients who had been treated unsuccessfully with other medications found that the new treatment halved the number of episodes among some patients.
Overall, 30% of those given the new drug – erenumab – saw their total number of migraines cut in halve.
The study involved 246 migraine sufferers who were given the drug or a placebo once a month for three months.
All had previously been given medications, which had failed to provide relief.
Migraine, the most common neurological disorder, is often very difficult to treat.
It involves moderate to severe pain on one or both sides of the head and may also include nausea or light sensitivity. It can last anywhere from four hours to three days and may prevent people from participating in their normal activities.
Those who have episodic migraine can have up to 14 headache days each month.
Erenumab blocks pain signals by targeting a receptor for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) which transmits migraine pain signals. Erenumab occupies the nerves to which CGRP would usually bind.
Study author Prof Uwe Reuter, of The Charité – University Medicine Berlin in Germany, said: “The people we included in our study were considered more difficult to treat, meaning that up to four other preventative treatments hadn’t worked for them.
“Our study found that erenumab reduced the average number of monthly migraine headaches by more than 50 per cent for nearly a third of study participants.
“That reduction in migraine headache frequency can greatly improve a person’s quality of life.”
The findings are due to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Los Angeles.
Researchers said new preventive treatments are needed for migraine, because some patients struggled to find a treatment which worked, while others suffered too many side-effects.