New Medications For Headache Treatment

The last few years have shown an impressive amount of progress in migraine treatment. A new drug for migraine headaches was approved in 2018 for migraine sufferers, with two more approved in the same year. Here is some information about how they work, and how to find the best treatment for you.

New Medicine for Migraine Headaches

If you have had chronic migraines, you probably take a medication to prevent them. Until last year, your only options for preventives included classes of drugs that were initially developed and tested for other purposes. In 2018, three pharmaceutical companies sought and gained approval for a new class of migraine treatment. These drugs target a certain protein in the body, and are called:

  • Aimovig (erenumab)
  • Ajovy (fremanezumab)
  • Emgality (galcanezumab)

 Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a protein, moves through nerves in the brain. Experts believe it carries pain signals. This means that CGRP can be responsible for triggering migraines or making them worse.

Understanding How the New Headache Medicine Works

As researchers gained a greater understanding of the way CGRP runs through the trigeminal nerve (the typical pathway for migraines), they began to experiment with it. Developers hypothesized that if they could target the protein somehow, they could stop the movement of the pain signals.

All three of these drugs use monoclonal antibodies (MABs). These are immune cells that are cloned so that they are all identical. The first drug approved, erenumab, binds to the body’s CGRP receptors. If the body cannot receive the protein, the pain signal stops its dreadful path. The second and third medicines, fremanezumab and galcanezumab, bind to the actual protein.

All three medications are delivered in an injectable form. Erenumab and galcanezumab come in a monthly dose. Fremanezumab is approved to be given every three months. Results from trials and early use by the public are promising. 

Evidence suggests that people who take one of these medications have about a 50 percent likelihood of cutting migraine days by 50-75 percent. If you experience 15 or more headache days a month, like most chronic migraine sufferers, this could be a significant reduction. Experts believe that the drugs could work well for other serious headache types, including cluster headaches. 

These medicines are all quite new, so it is not clear what the long-term effects may be. The MAB molecules are large. This means that they do not pass into the brain or into the body’s digestive system. Researchers are unsure how long people can safely block this protein, which may be important for other systems of the body.

Learn If the Latest Migraine Medicine Is Right for You

Although this new headache medication has given many migraine sufferers relief they sorely need, they are far from the only options available. Every person’s experience with migraines is unique, which means that you may need one or more treatment options to get them under control. At Diamond Headache Clinic, we offer a comprehensive treatment program for headaches, including:

Our goal is to help you evaluate the nature of your migraines and which treatments will be most appropriate to help you manage them.

When you have a migraine, all you want is a solution. With the latest migraine medicine, you may receive an answer that makes a significant difference. To learn more about our migraine treatments, schedule an appointment with Diamond Headache Clinic today.

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