Migraine sufferers have long struggled to find successful migraine treatments. And when they do, these treatments come with numerous potential side effects. Few migraine sufferers have found a treatment that they are happy with. But that may soon change, with the development of new migraine drugs that target a key link in the causal mechanism for the headaches.
These new drugs are preventive migraine treatments focused on treating either chronic or episodic migraines. The first may be approved as soon as May, but in the meantime, people should consider drug-free TMJ treatment. TMJ treatment can affect the same migraine process as these drugs in development.
Is CGRP the “Key” to Migraines?
Both of these new developing drugs focus on what is known as CGRP, short for calcitonin gene-related peptide. We have long known that this compound seems to play a key role in causing migraines. One postulated mechanism for migraines that has seen increased support in recent years is that overstimulation of the trigeminal nerve, either by pain impulses or overactivation of controlled muscles, triggers a release of CGRP. CGRP then causes the body to release inflammatory mechanisms and causes the expansion of blood vessels in the brain. These lead to the pain and other symptoms of migraines.
Researchers have long thought that if they could inhibit the action of CGRP in the brain, they could stop migraines before they start.
Effectiveness of New Drug Trials
At one time, as many as four migraine drugs were being developed to take advantage of the CGRP link with migraines, but only two drugs were involved in the current trials. One of these drugs, fremanezumab, attaches itself to CGRP, inhibiting its function. This drug was tried as a treatment for chronic migraine. The other drug, erenumab, was used to prevent episodic migraines. Both drugs performed well.
Chronic migraine sufferers had an average of about 13 migraine days a month, and saw an average reduction of about 4.5 migraine days per month taking fremanezumab, compared to only 2.5 days per month on placebo. About 38% of people who took the drug quarterly saw a 50% reduction in their headache frequency. Among people taking the drug monthly, 41% saw a 50% reduction in migraine frequency.
In the episodic migraine group, the average migraine days per month was 8.3. Treatment with erenumab reduced migraine days by about 3.5, with higher dosages of the drug showing slightly higher reductions. With lower dose of the drug, 43% of migraineurs saw a 50% reduction in their migraine days. Doubling the dose meant that 50% saw a 50% reduction.
Don’t Wait on new Drugs for Treatment
If you are a migraine sufferer looking for new migraine treatment, you don’t have to wait for the new drugs to be developed. Although it is currently reported that one may be approved as soon as May, when we first talked about these drugs in 2015, it was reported that they could be approved as soon as 2016, so we don’t know exactly when they’ll be approved.
Instead of waiting, you should try TMJ treatment for your migraines. TMJ can often lead to overstimulation of the trigeminal nerve, triggering migraines and other problems. By controlling TMJ, you might be able to reduce your CGRP levels and thus see dramatic reductions in your migraines, without drugs, and, without drug side effects (which trials suggest might include impaired kidney function for at least one of the drugs).