In order to specifically prevent migraines, a new pill has been designed and it appears to do the job.
Patients’ migraines were cut in half by Atogepant after over 12 weeks of treatment. No side effects were observed.
Experts said that if the drug was approved by the FDA, it would give a welcome novel option to people who suffer from migraines.
New Drug Could Prevent Migraines
Dr. Charles Flippen said that there is a huge demand for new preventive medicines. He is a professor of clinical neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, more than 37 million people suffer from migraines, in the United States alone.
The symptoms of the condition include nausea, visual disturbances, and sensitivity to light and sound, accompanied by the usual intense head pain.
In order to prevent migraines, a large number of oral medications have been prescribed by doctors.
Flippen said that the issue is caused by the medications themselves because they are not ‘migraine-specific’. He is also a part of the American Academy of Neurology and was not involved in the study.
Migraine attacks can be prevented in some patients by these drugs, but they were definitely not specifically designed to help do away with the condition.
Atogepant works by blocking cell receptors for CGRP, a small protein that is released by the trigeminal nerve during migraine attacks.
Instead, the drugs are borrowed from arsenals used to treat other conditions, including high blood pressure, depression and seizures.
This protein is believed to be a key factor in making migraines as unbearable as they are known to be.
The first migraine drug to target CGRP is not Atogepant, though. There are other ‘gepants’ that have been used to treat migraines. Rimegepant, in May, got approval to be used to prevent migraines.
There have been several CGRP inhibitors that have been approved for preventing migraines over the last few years and all of them are administered by injection and not orally.
Dr. Jessica Ailani, the lead researcher on the new trial said that in headache medicine, it is a very different time compared to a 10 years ago.
Patients would have another option due to the development of a drug that targets CGRP which is also orally administered.
Ailani, a clinical professor of neurology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital said that that’s always good.
Ailani and her colleagues recruited over 900 patients with migraines who were randomly assigned to one to four groups.
While three groups received different doses of atogepant, one group received placebo tablets.
Over the course of 12 weeks, patients who were given the drug saw a bigger reduction in their migraines in contrast to the placebo group.
They went from having 7-8 migraine days every month to under 3 and 4 migraine days.
Ailani said that a large portion of patients had a reduction that was significant.
61% of patients had a minimum of 50% drop-in monthly migraine days over the course of the study, out of all those who received the highest medication dose.
About 15% of patients on the highest dose exhibited side effects like nausea and constipation.
Dr. Matthew Robbins said that migraines are so common and there hasn’t ever been a treatment that works well universally.
He added that people with chronic migraines were not included in the study. These migraines occur at least 15 times a month.
Those patients reacted well to CGRP inhibitors that are administered through injections.
Ailani said that atogepant is still being examined for the treatment of chronic migraine.