An experimental migraine drug is showing impressive results for individuals with episodic and chronic migraine. The subcutaneous injections of fremanezumab at monthly or quarterly intervals has shown to provide rapid and sustained relief, according to the results of two Phase 3 studies.
“There have been no new treatments developed specifically to prevent migraine over the past 20 years, which is surprising, considering it is one of the foremost disabling diseases,” Ernesto Aycardi, MD told Pain Medicine News. “There is also no question that this new class of targeted biologic treatment has the potential to change the way doctors treat migraine.”
Both studies were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and lasted 16 weeks. Patients were divided into three groups: monthly injections of the drug, quarterly injections of the drug, and monthly injections of placebo.
For the episodic migraine study, patients treated with fremanezumab for both dosing plans had a reduction of monthly migraine days compared to those treated with the placebo (9.1 vs. 6.9 days). For the chronic migraine study, patients treated with fremanezumab for both dosing plans experienced a decrease in the number of monthly headache days of at least moderate severity compared to placebo (-4.6 days in the monthly group; -4.3 days in the quarterly group).
The most common side effects, according to the study, were injection site pain. There were no significant differences in reaction between the drug and the placebo.
According to Dr. Aycardi, vice president of research and development for migraine and headache at Teva Pharmaceuticals and the senior author for both studies, patients prefer preventive treatment such as fremanezumab injections.
“The results of these two migraine prevention studies are very exciting,” said Dawn Buse, PhD, director of behavioral medicine at Montefiore Headache Center and professor of clinical neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. “The reductions in number of headache days per month with fremanezumab translate into giving back nearly one day per week for people with episodic migraine and more than one day per week for people with chronic migraine.”
She added that this benefits not only the individual with migraine, but also their families, employers, and society.
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