Could A New Migraine Treatments Stop Them In Their Tracks?

Some industry estimates suggest that the migraine headache might be the third most common illness in the world. Unfortunately, despite their frequency, migraine appears to affect women disproportionately—up to three times more often than men. The data suggests about 18 percent of women, in the United States suffer from the often debilitating head pain known as migraines, while it only seems to affect 6 percent of men. 

And despite what appears to be a less-than-impressive cohort, the number of people who suffer this—again, quite debilitating—condition is enough to herald a need for new, effective migraine treatments. Fortunately, a new drug could be on the way.

While not yet approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, the new drug belongs to a class of drugs that have only very recently come to the market.  These drugs are called CGRP inhibitors; and the drug is called rimegepant. 

Research shows CGRP is only a small protein but it is released by the trigeminal nerve during a migraine attack.  Obviously, then, this is a good reason it is believed to contribute generating migraine symptoms.  

Now, the medical industry has already approved three CGRP inhibitors. All of these FDA-approved interventions are injectable drugs, generally used to regularly prevent migraine attacks. 

Rimegepant is different, though, in that it is an oral medication that can help relieve migraines after they strike. That, of course, if very different than the previous three interventions. 

Still, lead researcher Dr. Richard Lipton said that his team found, among roughly 1,200 migraine patients involved with the study, the drug definitively outperformed an inactive placebo.  As a matter of fact, nearly 20 percent of patients who used a single dose of rimegepant were pain-free within just two hours.  This was only about 12 percent successful in the control group.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, more than 37 million people are afflicted with migraines in the United States. This very specific type of headache causes severe pain, often along with by other severe symptoms that can lead to sensitivity to light and sound, and can be accompanied by nausea and visual disturbances.  The pain is also very different from other headaches, centralized to the forehead and around the outside, in many cases. 

The results of this study have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.