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New Drugs May Help Prevent Migraines

Apr 23, 2014 02:44 PM EDT

Two experimental drugs may help prevent migraines, according to the American Academy of Neurology's preliminary findings.

The drugs, one administered intravenously (IV) and one by injection, are monoclonal antibodies that target the calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP, thought to play a role in migraines. The treatments are meant to prevent migraine attacks from occurring, rather than stop them once they've started.

"Migraine remains poorly treated, and there are few effective and well tolerated treatments approved that prevent attacks from occurring," author Dr. David Dodick, a member of the American Academy of Neurology from Mayo Clinic Arizona in Phoenix, said in a press release. "There is a huge treatment need for migraine - the third most common and seventh most disabling medical disorder in the world."

In one study, patients who had a migraine anywhere from five to 14 days per month saw a 66 percent drop in their migraine attacks five to eight weeks after a single dose of the IV drug named ALD403. The placebo, on the other hand, resulted in a 52 percent decrease.

At 12 weeks, 16 percent of drug receivers had no migraines at all.

In the other trial, 217 patients received either the injection drug - known as LY2951742 - or a placebo biweekly for 12 weeks. Similarly, those who received the drug had an average of 4.2 fewer migraines per month, or a 63-percent decrease, while migraine attacks fell to 42 percent for those who received the placebo.

"These results may potentially represent a new era in preventive therapy for migraine," said Dr. Peter Goadsby of the UC San Francisco.

Currently, medications such as antidepressants, high blood pressure medications and anti-seizure drugs are used to combat migraines' effects, HealthDay News reports.

About 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraine headaches, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

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