Millions of Americans suffer from migraines every year. Some 37 million Americans get them every single year. The condition is chronic – and whilst current medications provide relief for many, there are some patients who struggle to find the relief they need.
What Migraine treatments are currently available?
Migraine sufferers currently have a number of treatment options. If you suffer from migraines you will probably be offered the following drugs (dependent on how severe your symptoms are):
- Painkillers – many find that during an attack painkillers such as Ibuprofen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that reduces pain) and Paracetamol (a drug that works by a similar mechanism) are helpful. These can easily be bought over the counter and provide relief in 15-30 minutes. These drugs should be taken the moment you suffer from a migraine as leaving them too late can reduce their effectiveness
- For some simple over the counter remedies aren’t enough. In these patients, Triptans are often prescribed. Triptans are a class of drug that includes Sumatriptan. They work by constricting the blood vessels in the brain that go into spasm during a migraine. These are taken within the first hour of experiencing a migraine and most patients respond well.
What is the new drug? Does it Work?
A number of drug companies are working towards medications that work in a similar way. One of these, erenumab has been found to reduce the amount of migraines patients experience a month from 8 to around 4 or 5. Remember – this is just the average and many individuals will experience a greater reduction in migraines. Still – this can be massive for migraine sufferers. It will allow thousands of Americans who are unable to work due to get back to what they do best. The other drug in the pipeline is known as framanezumab (which will be used for people with chronic migraines).
These drugs are given as injections and prevent the migraines taking place in the first place (rather than the triptan drugs referred to above which stop an attack during a headache). The research took place at Kings College in London and is being hailed by many as a massive breakthrough in migraine treatment.
Every day it seems we hear new news of some wonder drug – or a potential cure for cancer. So does this study for Erenumab hold up? Well, for one it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a prestigious journal that doesn’t accept poor quality studies. Secondly – the National Health Service in the UK (the government-owned state health system) is quoted as saying
“This is a good-quality study that holds promise for a treatment that may help people who have migraines.”
A significant body like this weighing in on the subject is a sign that the treatment really could hail a new era for migraine treatment.
However, until the treatment is available there are still options out there for those 37 million Americans. Getting in contact with a specialist clinic can be incredibly helpful. Specialists will know the right combination of treatments to help each individual patient.