MAY 03, 2018 1:48 AM PDT

Treating Migraines with Less Side-Effects

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to a 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study and the World Health Organization (WHO), migraine makes the list as the sixth highest cause worldwide for years lost due to disability.

Now, scientists have stumbled upon a side-effect free treatment option for chronic migraines. These side-effects that are usually accompanied with conventional treatments include fatigue, racing heartbeat, or nausea.

The discovered drug is erenumab which works against migraines to inhibit pain signals by targeting a receptor for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). According to the American Academy of Neurology, CGRP is responsible for the pain trsamiiosn. With erenumab, the drug works to inhint the nerves to which CGRP peptide binds, ebentiaull blocking the pain.

To test the effectiveness of the drug, investigators examined 246 people who are considered “more difficult to treat” noted by study author Uwe Reuter in a news release. The participants received injections of either 140 milligrams of erenumab or a placebo once every month for a total of three months.

“Our results show that people who thought their migraines were difficult to prevent may actually have hope of finding pain relief,” explains Uwe Reuter said, “More research is now needed to understand who is most likely to benefit from this new treatment.” However, one disadvantage from this study was that researchers evaluated patients over a three-month period.

Current treatment options for migraines include OTC counter NSAIDs or dedicated triptans. These treatment options come with their own side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness or slow-thinking. “There’s no current dedicated migraine prevention medication,” says Dr. Michael R. Silver, an assistant professor in neurology at Emory University. “We borrow from other fields and use mostly anti-seizure medicines, blood pressure medicines or anti-depressants for migraine prevention.”

However, erenumabs provide promising treatment. “We’ve known CGRP have been involved in migraines for years and now, we’re finally coming out with medicines to address what is likely the root cause of migraine pain.”

Although erenumab is currently up for approval by the FDA, one downside might be the cost of having this treatment. Regardless, Dr. Silver believes that “this will hopefully usher in the new era of migraine treatment”.

Sources: American Academy of Neurology


About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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