New clinical trial drugs could mean you have fewer migraines

Attention, people prone to migraines: There may be some hope for alleviating the frequency and intensity of your attacks, according to new research.

Two new clinical trials are offering promise to the millions plagued with migraines, including one study that slashed the number of migraines in half for approximately 50 percent of people studied. King's College Hospital researchers noted this was a "huge deal," reports the BBC. The treatment in question involves antibodies made to affect chemicals in the brain.

Globally, 50 to 75 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 65 claimed to have headaches within the past year, according to April 2016 data from the World Health Organization. Thirty percent of those people said they had migraines.

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A migraine is a headache disorder that involves recurrent episodes, which can include hours to days-long headaches of varying intensity and nausea. In most cases it starts at puberty and affects people from ages 35 to 45, and more often occurs for women.

The clinical trials – of the drugs erenumab for episodic migraine and fremanezumab for prevention of chronic migraine – were published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The erenumab trial included 955 patients, while the fremanezumab trial had 1,130 patients.

In the case of erenumab, patients had a reduction of 50 percent or more in their average migraine days each month (specifically, 43.3 percent of patients in the group given 70 mg of the drug and 50 percent of patients given 140 mg of the drug compared to 26.6 percent given the placebo). Patients had migraines eight days a month on average when the study began, reports the BBC.

The AssociatedPress reports the drugs have been sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval. It's evidently still early in the research process, but study author Dr. Peter Goadsby appears confident in the results.

"The results represent a real transition for migraine patients from poorly understood, repurposed treatments, to a specific migraine-designed therapy," Goadsby told The Telegraph.

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The fremanezumab trial showed 41 percent of patients assigned the drug monthly had a 50 percent reduction in headache days each month. This dipped to 38 percent in the group receiving the drug quarterly, and 18 percent for the placebo group.

Researchers noted in both cases that the drugs need to be researched further for long-term safety and durability.

That said, this option could prove beneficial for these patients.

"The effects [of migraines] can last for hours – even days in many cases," Simon Evans, chief executive of charity Migraine Action, told The Telegraph. "An option that can prevent migraine and that is well tolerated is therefore sorely needed and we hope that this marks the start of real change in how this condition is treated and perceived."

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