A new migraine drug – one of the first tailor-made drugs in decades – seems to work well even when others have failed, researchers have said.
Erenumab is a monthly injection that could soon be offered to patients under the NHS if the cost is justified.
The latest results presented at a medical conference in the US suggest that they could help around one-third of patients with persistent migraines.
Up to four other treatments could not prevent her pain.
Erenumab reduced the average number of monthly migraine headaches by more than 50% for nearly one third of people with difficult-to-treat migraine who participated in the 1
The drug works differently than other preventive medicines given to migraine sufferers, who are often "misappropriated" medicines that were originally designed to treat other conditions such as blood pressure and epilepsy rather than severe headaches.
Erenumab, like three other monoclonal antibodies that are also being tested by pharmaceutical companies, is tailor-made for migraine.
It uses the body's protective immune system to block the nerve signals that cause migraine pain.
More than Headache
Migraine is very common – it affects one in seven Britons – and can be hard to stop.
The strong throbbing pain can last for hours or days, making it difficult to work, rest and sleep.
Some people get nausea and nausea. Others also get an aura – accompanying visual symptoms, such as seeing colorful shapes or experiencing tunnel vision or blind spots.
Rachel Walls, 37, of the West Midlands, has had migraines since she was 17 years old. Over the past two decades, many different preventive medications and alternative therapies have been unsuccessful.
"I get a migraine with aura that also affects my eyesight," she says. "I see cells floating above my vision, and I find that smells and strong light are really hard to handle."
"The pain is terrible. It's like crushing his skull. You can not do anything else – just lie down in a dark room and wait for it to go, and it can take days.
She relies on strong analgesics for these attacks, which she finds unpleasant.
She participated in the Erenumab study and said her attacks are now less, shorter, and less intense.
"Me Now I get about six or eight migraine attacks per month, whereas it was 12 to 15 before. "
" No, a miracle drug – but for me it made a difference: I started the process last June, the first three months I did not know if I got the drug or a dummy drug, but it's been my turn since then
"I was told I could only have it for 12 months, so I'll have to wait and see if it's approved before I get it again. "
Experts hope that the new monoclonal antibody treatments may be life-changing for many of the millions of people living with migraines, but longer studies are still needed to demonstrate this
Dr. Peter Goadsby, one of the study's lead investigators and a neurology expert at University College London, said, "Our challenge now is to find out who will benefit most from them." It's really promising that there are some of these Patients who have not had an option so far. "
Simon Evans of Migraine Action said:" An option that can prevent migraine and which is well tolerated
"Migraine is too often played down as a headache only when it is is actually a debilitating, chronic condition that can destroy life. "
Erenumab and another monoclonal migraine treatment called Fremanezumab have been filed for approval by US and European drug regulators and a decision is expected shortly.