STAMFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A study released in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that a new class of drugs could be a game changer for people living with chronic migraines.
“These are engineered – what I would call, smart molecules. And it’s called a monoclonal antibody,” explains Dr. Peter McAllister with New England Institute of Neurology and Headache in Stamford.
He was a principal investigator of a clinical trial, looking into the impact of two specific medications in the report, fremanezumab and erenumab.
Pointing to a visual image of the brain, he says, “By blocking this area here, we prevent the spreading of migraine signals, culminating in a bad headache.”
Both drugs are injectable.
While they travel different paths to shut down the chemical reaction in the brain which triggers the migraine, their results are similar.Related Content: News 8’s Anne Craig shares her struggle with migraines
Dr. McAllister says, “We found that there was a drop in the number of headache days per month, but interestingly, there was a sub group of folks who got 75% better. 75% in reduction of headaches and another group that got 100% better. That’s as close as to a cure as we can get.”
Plus, he says, there were virtually no side effects. “When they are injected [they] go only into the area of the brain that they are designed to hit,” Dr. McAllister states. “They can’t go, for example, to the heart, the lungs, etc. So, the side effects are very low to non-existent.”
Betsey Mezzanotte is a life-long sufferer of migraines.
“They’re recurrent and that gets to be frustrating and it’s hard to function as a mom,” she says.Related Content: Study shows acupuncture may help reduce migraines
This mom of two took part in the clinical trial.
“I went from typically having multiple headaches in a week to almost none,” she says.
Other experts did point out that both drugs had a powerful placebo effect.
Dr. McAllister’s response — that all pain studies have high placebo response rates. He stresses this class of drugs has better response rates than any other migraine preventive meds studied — with virtually no side effects.
Both drugs could be available this year.