Throbbing pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light are some of the debilitating symptoms of a migraine. In the USA, nearly 38 million Americans - about 12% of the adult population - suffer from this chronic disease. Sufferers are forced to cancel work or plans, damaging quality of life, careers, and finances.
For some time, multipurpose drugs such as blood pressure medications, antidepressants, anticonvulsant drugs, and Botox injections have been used to prevent attacks. However, not specifically developed for migraines, these methods have had mixed results.
But now, the arrival of a new class of drugs is providing relief through migraine prevention. The drugs work by blocking the activity of a molecule called a peptide related to the calcitonin gene or CGRP (Calcitonin gene-related peptide), which increases during a migraine, causing inflammation and pain in the brain.
Dr. MaryAnn Mays, a neurologist, and director of the neurology residency at the Cleveland Clinic explains that it is an exciting time for headache remedies because we haven't had any new therapies for years to treat this disorder.
CGRP is a neuropeptide, very important in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. It is a potent vasodilator, it also produces neurogenic inflammation, mast cell degranulation and is important for pain transmission. It is these mechanisms that make it so crucial for migraines.
Administered once a month by injection, clinical trials showed a reduction in headache days per month, compared to placebo. Today, three CGRP inhibitors, as well as the first prophylactic CGRP intravenous migraine inhibitor, are approved by the FDA for chronic and episodic migraines.
Actively prescribed in 2020, this new class of drugs approved by the FDA is the first to be specifically designed for the preventive treatment of migraines, marking a new era in migraine therapy. With such innovation, these new treatments are helping countless migraine patients to ward off pain and regain their personal and professional lives.
Source: Cleveland Clinic News Room