Treatment cuts migraine days by half

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Novartis has published the findings of a new clinical study showing the significant benefits that its drug erenumab can deliver for migraine sufferers.

The trial "represents an incredibly important step forward for migraine understanding and migraine treatment", said Professor Peter Goadsby, from King's College Hospital, who led the project.

The six-month long trial featured 955 patients who were randomized to receive either subcutaneous erenumab 70mg or 140mg once a month or placebo.

The World Health Organisation ranks migraines as the 7th most disabling disease worldwide and classifies severe attacks as among the most disabling illnesses, comparable to dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis.

Those experiencing a migraine will usually feel a thumping or pulsing pressure in their head, which is often accompanied by oversensitivity to light and noise.

The drug which is still being tested was used as part of recent medical trial which involved over 1,000 patients.

"Publication of these data underscores the significance of the CGRP receptor blocker Aimovig as potentially the first available treatment targeting a pathophysiologically relevant pathway for one of the most common causes of disability across the globe", said Sean E. Harper, MD, executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen.

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The drug reduced the days where patients suffered from migraine attacks.

Erenumab is the first and only fully human monoclonal antibody of its kind, and has been created to specifically block the CGRP receptor that plays a crucial role in migraine activation.

According to The Telegraph, Novartis has now applied for a European Medicines Agency (EMA) license for the medication, in the hopes of making it available in the United Kingdom from next year.

The condition is so debilitating it is estimated to lose the United Kingdom economy £2 billion per year in absenteeism.

The immunotherapy, developed by Teva Pharmaceuticals, binds the biological agent fremanezumab to a migraine-associated protein called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and blocks the cascade effect of its release in response to inflammation.

"An option that can prevent migraine and that is well tolerated is therefore sorely needed, and we hope that this marks the start of real change in how this condition is treated and perceived".