An experimental new drug called erenumab has been shown in a study to significantly reduce the number of migraine days per month for chronic sufferers, its developers say.
If the drug eventually hits the market, it could mean major relief for people with both chronic and less frequent migraines. Erenumab works by inhibiting certain peptides that are known to play a key role in triggering migraine attacks.
In phase II pharmaceutical testing, biotechnology company Amgen gave either erenumab or a placebo to 667 randomized chronic migraine sufferers in the form of a monthly injection. Before participating in the study, the patients suffered about 18 migraine days per month, Amgen reports. Over 12 weeks on erenumab, patients saw their migraine frequency drop by 6.6 days per month. Those who received a placebo saw a drop of 4.2 days.
It's a statistically significant change, says Amgen, which is developing the drug along with the Swiss company Novaris.
Erenumab is still undergoing testing; researchers are awaiting results of a second study that tested the drug on people with less frequent migraines, Reuters reports.
Incredibly painful migraine headaches affect some 40 million Americans every day. Changes in routine and diet can help, but sometimes prescription drugs are necessary to keep migraines in check. According to Sean Harper, who oversees research and development for Amgen, migraines are the sixth-leading cause of disability worldwide.