In the last week, I have been reminded what a wicked disease migraine can be. I had finally adjusted to always having some level of pain and aura, when I quite suddenly lost the majority of the feeling on the right side of my body. It’s happened before, but still merited a trip to the Emergency Department (ER/A&E) for safety. As soon as they had assured my poor husband and I that it was nothing more than another hemiplegic migraine, and I was given some IV fluids and medications, we hightailed it out of there. The next afternoon I endured a “migraineur’s day at the spa” (that would be a nerve block for the uninitiated), and left the neurologist’s office with a prescription for a prednisone taper. If that fails to work, we will move on to a five day IV treatment. For the moment I am housebound, but hopeful.
Much of the reason for that hope lies in the promise of Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) Antagonists. They are the first preventative medications designed specifically for migraine (the rest of our preventative medications are borrowed from other conditions, such as seizure disorders), and while they are still being researched, they appear to be working well. They function by blocking CGRPs, a group of amino acids that transmit pain. I have to admit that I am slightly bummed that I am not a candidate for joining the ongoing trials (too persistent of headache, too many other complicating neurological features of my migraine, and too many co-morbid conditions), but still I can’t help but smile every time I talk to my neurologist about this set of medications and how he thinks that they could improve my future, and that of many many others living with migraine disease. These drugs currently exist as intravenous (IV) infusions and intramuscular (IM) injections administered in varying intervals (it is research after all).
Several major pharmaceutical players currently have a CGRP antagonist in mid-level clinical trials (Phases 2 and 3), studying the efficacy of the medications in people with both episodic and chronic migraine including Alder (ALD403), Amgen (AMG334), Eli Lilly (LY2951742), and Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEV-48125).
CGRP antagonists are gaining press, and recently a family member sent me a link that reminded me that while I do know what is on the horizon, others might not yet! So, if you are a migraineur (or love someone who is) I implore you to research the promise that the future holds for us. As someone who has trialed more medications than I can count, I am certainly grateful that migraine is getting attention as a disease that robs time and ability from millions of people all over the world, and that medications are being developed specifically for us! That hasn’t happened since Triptans such as Imitrex were developed and approved as an abortive treatment in the 1990s! Today, despite being in ongoing recovery, I am supremely grateful for the promise of future research that may help me someday, and will certainly help others like me.
Golden, K. (2015, July 22). CGRP Antagonists are the New Triptans. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https://migraine.com/blog/cgrp-antagonists-are-the-new-triptans/
Taylor, N. P. (2016, September 29). Novartis, Amgen chalk up PhIII migraine success to maintain lead over Lilly, Teva. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/amgen-novartis-chalk-up-phiii-migraine-success-to-maintain-lead-over-lilly-teva
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, or even a medical professional. I am only a patient who does her research in order to advocate for myself and others living with similar conditions. This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please discuss all medical concerns with your physician.