An estimated 39 million Americans are living with excruciating pain because of a migraine. There are drugs that can prevent and treat headaches. Unfortunately, one in every 5 people with a migraine could not function well because of migraine symptoms.
In May this year, the FDA approved a new class of migraine medications. These drugs are designed to fight migraine headaches before they could even start.
The first of the four new drugs is erenumab (Aimovig). This drug targets calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). It is a molecule produced in the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. Furthermore, this drug can reduce the number of days you have a migraine.
This new migraine treatment that the FDA approved in 2018 is a monoclonal antibody. It is administered as a shot for patients who experience more than four migraine days per month. To approve this drug, the FDA evaluated the outcomes of three-patient studies. These students involved patients who had up to 2 1/2 monthly migraines days.
The cost of this drug?
Well, it is not for everyone. Amgen, the drug’s manufacturer, stated that the drug’s price would be $575 per month. However, insurance may cover it.
What is CGRP?
Scientists uncovered that CGRP assists in transmitting pain signals in the brain. They believed that CGRP has a role in a migraine because when people have an attack, their CGRP in the blood is elevated.
However, it is important to note that CGRP does not cause a migraine or trigger it. What it does is that it makes nerve cells more sensitive to pain. It is like having a radio. The CGRP turns the volume up. By blocking it, it turns the volume down.
Apart from Aimovig, FDA also approved other drugs that target the same molecule. These drugs would include fremanezumab, galcanezumab and eptinezumab. The third drug is administered through IV.
New Migraine Treatment and Prevention in 2018
In September this year, the FDA approved galcanezumab-gnlm (Emgality) targets the CGRP and it is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Co. It is an injectable drug that will soon be available after approval. Unfortunately, it will take a long while before it will be available in the Philippines.
Migraine pain can be debilitating. It could negatively impact sufferer’s life. I know that because I once suffered from it. These new treatments are surely beneficial.
They are medications that could treat a migraine. However, they are actually aimed to control seizures, irregular heartbeat, and other conditions. And there are side effects, such as sexual dysfunction, which makes sufferers skip treatment.
Erenumab, however, has a new approach. As mentioned earlier, it blocks a molecule involved in migraine attacks. Since it is a synthetic medicine, it still comes with side effects. But unlike the other drugs, it has fewer adverse reactions. Furthermore, this treatment is given only to patients who experience a migraine more than four times a month.
But this treatment will not take away migraines completely. Rather, it only reduces its frequency. Despite that, it is still a game changer, especially to those who experience more than one migraines a month.
My Migraine Treatment?
I used to suffer from a migraine. However, when I started using bisoprolol for my tachycardia for several months now, I no longer experience migraine attacks. I have not spoken yet to my cardiologist about the drug’s effect but it does seem to prevent this condition. It does not treat but it could prevent it. I hope that the drug’s effect will not stop. Else, I have to purchase one of the drugs mentioned above.
But I’m also taking other supplements that might somehow help in preventing migraine. These supplements would include Omega-3, Natural B, Cal-Mag, and several others.