Targeted new migraine drug could be a breakthrough for sufferers

A targeted new migraine drug has reduced the average occurrence of migraines by 50% for nearly a third of sufferers, in a new trial.

The drug, a monthly injection named Erenumab, was tested on ‘intractable’ migraine patients in a 12-week study.

And it’s thought that the medication could finally help sufferers to alleviate their symptoms, where other drugs have failed to do so.

This is because Erenumab, an antibody drug, is targeted specifically at migraines. Current medicines for migraines are often “repurposed” – meaning that they were originally designed to treat other conditions, including blood pressure or epilepsy.

However, while the trials are showing promising results, it’s thought that longer studies are needed to better understand what the medication can do.

The migraine drug is being tested by pharmaecutical companies, and there are hopes that it could soon be available on the NHS, if successful.

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Neurology professor at King’s College London, Prof. Peter Goadsby, was one of the lead investigators on the study. He has said, “Our challenge now is to work out who is going to benefit the most from them at the get-go.

“It’s really promising that it can help some of these patients who, until now, have not had an option.”

It’s thought that one in seven people in the UK suffer from migraines.

Migraine’s differ from headaches, in that their occurence can be debilitating. They often cause sufferers to become sensitive to noise and smell, and can also induce vomiting, and nausea. Many migraine sufferers are left bed-bound until the crushing pain subsides, which could be anywhere from two to 72 hours.

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Some people also experience visual symptoms of migraine too – seeing shapes or experiencing blind spots in their sight.

Currently, most sufferers use over-the-counter painkillers, including ibuprofen and paracetamol, to combat symptoms. So it’s likely that a targeted migraine drug would be a welcome relief for many.

Simon Evans, of Migraine Action, told the BBC, “An option that can prevent migraine and that’s well tolerated is sorely needed.

“Migraine is too often trivialised as just a headache when, in reality, it can be a debilitating, chronic condition that can destroy lives.”

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