There’s a new class of drugs designed to prevent migraines-the first of their kind! The first medicine designed to prevent migraines was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, ushering in what is being called a new era in treatment for people who suffer from debilitating headaches. The drug, Aimovig, is made by Amgen and Novartis, is a monthly injection.
Aimovig blocks a protein fragment, CGRP, that instigates and perpetuates migraines. Three other companies — Lilly, Teva and Alder — have similar medicines in the final stages of study or awaiting F.D.A. approval.
Millions of people experience severe migraines so often that they are debilitated, and often depressed.
These drugs do not prevent all migraine attacks, but can make them less severe and can reduce their frequency by 50 percent or more.
Until now, drugs used to prevent migraines were designed to treat other diseases, like high blood pressure. They are not very effective, may work only temporarily, and often are laden with intolerable side effects. In clinical trials, people taking the new drugs reported no more side effects than those taking a placebo. The side effects over the long term and among people with chronic diseases remain to be determined.
One in seven people worldwide experience migraines, among them 37 million Americans — as many as 20 percent of women, and 10 percent of men. About 2 percent of the global population copes with chronic migraines. By some estimates, migraine is the third most common disease in the world, and it ranks among the top ten causes of disability.
“Medications like this will have a huge impact,” said Brian Grosberg, MD, Director of Hartford HealthCare Headache Center, “This is a very exciting time for patients with migraine and physicians like myself who care for them.”
The Hartford HealthCare Headache Center is offering hope to people suffering from a wide range of headaches. The center’s medical director, Dr. Brian Grosberg is a board-certified neurologist and headache specialist. He tailors his approach to the individual patient using medication or non-medicinal therapies.
“We are creating and growing a state and nationally recognized comprehensive, multidisciplinary headache program that provides individualized care,” Dr. Grosberg says. “We’re all about the patients and making sure they get what they need.”
Dr. Grosberg’s approach has many of his patients traveling long distances to see him. Patients have found him from all across the globe.
“Connecticut is a destination site for headache care for patients in the state and beyond,” Grosberg says.
For more information, log on to hartfordhealthcare.org/services/headache-center or call 860.696.2925