Severe Migraines: Should You Try the New CGRP Antibody Therapy?

January 25th, 2019
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On May 17, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new preventive therapy for migraine, a serious condition that ranks as one of the leading causes of disability among healthy people.

The newly approved drug, erenumab (brand name Aimovig™), was designed to prevent migraine in those who experience frequent migraines, particularly those who experience chronic migraine (15 or more headache days per month), and who haven’t benefited from, or cannot tolerate existing treatments.

Erenumab prevents migraines by blocking a widely-distributed substance in the body, known as calcitonin gene–related peptide, or CGRP. Developed by Amgen® and Novartis, the medicine is a monthly injection that belongs to a class of drugs known monoclonal antibodies, which are immune cells that have been engineered to target and block CGRP, or its receptor. Three other companies are currently awaiting FDA approval for similar CGRP monoclonal antibody therapies.

There are currently no existing treatments that eliminate migraines. The only FDA-approved treatment for chronic migraine is onabotulinumtoxinA (brand name Botox®). Given as injections every three months, this therapy modestly reduces the frequency of headaches for some people.

Though not specifically approved for chronic migraine, there are other FDA-approved preventive treatments for migraine, including propranolol, topiramate, and sodium divalproex. Treatments such as lisinopril are not approved by the FDA, but are used “off label” to treat migraine.

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At Pain Spa, Dr. Krishna is able to prescribe Aimovig medication privately, as it is not yet available in most NHS hospitals. Please contact us for further details if you wish to try this treatment.