- First drug to prevent chronic migraines has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Aimovig is the first new drug that helps treat migraines in adults with episodic or chronic migraines
- The drug is administered through monthly self-injections, requires a prescription and can be available to patients within a week
The first drug to prevent chronic migraines has been developed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The newly approved drug offers hope to all the migraine sufferers across the U.S, as it helps reduce the frequency of monthly migraine attacks.
Migraines affect more than 10 percent of the population, worldwide and are three times more common among women than men, reveals FDA.
‘Aimovig is the first new drug that helps treat migraines and is administered through monthly self-injections, requires a prescription and can be available to patients within a week.’
About 10 million Americans who are in their 30s suffer from migraines often, which can last for several hours to even days.
Aimovig: New Drug for Migraines
Aimovig is the first new drug that has been approved by the FDA, as a preventive treatment for migraines in adults with episodic or chronic migraines.
- Episodic migraine: Symptoms occur up to 14 days every month
- Chronic migraine: Symptoms occur up to 15 days or for more than a month
Several pills are in the process of testing for preventing migraines and three other shots are expected to get an approval from the FDA by next year, said Dr. Stewart Tepper, director of the Dartmouth Headache Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, who was a clinical investigator in the Aimovig trials.
Currently, pills developed for epilepsy and other conditions, Botox, the wrinkle reducer are being used. However, many patients avoid using them, as they are not very effective or cause severe side effects.
Administration of Aimovig Drug
Aimovig drug targets a substance called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), because it's levels in the blood increase during a migraine, which can trigger the symptoms. The drug blocks the activity of CGRP and reduces migraine episodes in the individual.
The drug was injected just under the skin monthly using a penlike device and was developed by Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks in California, and Swiss drug giant Novartis AG.
"When CGRP is released, outside of the brain, it causes inflammation and blood vessel dilation the blood vessels get big and that combination of inflammation and blood vessels getting big is the pain of a migraine," said Tepper, who is also a professor of neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.
Migraines can cause symptoms such as throbbing headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Effect of Aimovig Drug on Migraines
In this study, patients were divided into two groups. One group of patients received Aimovig and were found to have reduced migraine days from eight to four a month. Whereas, those who got the placebo had a reduction of only two.
Both the groups had similar minor side effects like cold and respiratory infections. Some patients even had their migraines eliminated completely, said Sean Harper, Amgen's research director.
Aimovig is also known as Erenumab.
The long-term safety of the drug has not been tested. Amgen plans to investigate the outcomes in women who become pregnant while taking it.
Aimovig was evaluated in three pivotal clinical trials for it's effectiveness. "It may not get rid of all of them, but it dramatically improves the frequency, severity, and duration of the migraine attacks," said Tepper.
The treatment that is administered through monthly self-injections, requires a prescription and can be available to patients within a week.
In the United States, Aimovig is expected to cost about $575 monthly or $6,900 annually.