New drug shows promise for preventing migraines

In the journals


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Migraine sufferers may be able to prevent future attacks with a new medication called galcanezumab, suggests a study published online Dec. 18, 2017, by JAMA Neurology. Currently, there are five FDA-approved drugs for migraines, but none were designed specifically for treating attacks or addressing the mechanisms at work.

In comparison, galcanezumab works to suppress the activity of calcitonin gene–related peptide (CGRP) in people. That molecule is believed to play an integral role in migraines and cluster headaches.

In this study, more than 400 people, each of whom had experienced four to 14 migraine days in the month before the study began, were given a monthly injection of galcanezumab or a placebo for three months. The dosages were either 5 milligrams (mg), 50 mg, 120 mg, or 300 mg. While all dosages were helpful, the 120-mg dose was the most effective and reduced the frequency of migraines by about five to six days over the three-month period.

The FDA is reviewing galcanezumab for approval. If it is approved, the drug will be available as a once-monthly injection with either an autoinjector pen or a prefilled syringe.