While there’s currently no cure for migraines, researchers are working on better understanding what actually causes migraines. Because the better they understand that, the easier it is to develop a more effective medication, and hopefully one day, a cure.
The exciting news is that after years of seeing little progress in migraine research, new treatments are now in development and drug companies are racing against each other to provide the best possible treatments.
Here’s the latest on what you need to know about migraine treatments and research:
Erenumab—which you probably know better by the name Aimovig®—is a new kind of migraine medication that effectively targets the CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor).
Recent research shows that CGRP levels are higher in migraine sufferers during an attack. While they don’t know why that’s the case, they do know targeting it seems to help.
While Aimovig® was first to the market, there are several different anti-CGRP treatments currently in development and starting to make headlines, including galcanezumab (Emgality®) and fremanezumab (Ajovy®).
Even though promising results are beginning to emerge, these treatments are still too expensive for many migraine sufferers, with Aimovig® currently coming in at $575/month. In addition, insurers aren’t rushing to cover these treatments and are instead making patients jump through several hoops. Plus, it’s still unknown if they’re safe to use during pregnancy.
As you know, migraine medication currently comes in a few forms: tablets, nasal sprays, and injections. Zosano Pharma’s currently testing a new delivery method—a migraine patch. In a report for KFVS 12, reporter Robbyn DeSpain says: “The system uses tiny needles coated with medication to deliver a migraine drug right into the bloodstream.”
Your first question’s probably, “sure, sure, but what’s a neuro-modulator?” Well, a neuro-modulator is what a neuron releases to send messages across your central nervous system. Some researchers believe that migraines are caused by abnormal neuron behavior. So this device would stop that abnormal behavior.
This device already exists, but in a much more invasive form called occipital nerve stimulation. The Mayo Clinic says, “The occipital nerve originates at the base of the neck. In occipital nerve stimulation, your doctor implants a small device at the base of the skull with leads connected to a power source (pulse generator) that sends electrical impulses to the occipital nerve.” As you can imagine, this is only for people who suffer from chronic migraines and don’t respond to other treatments.
An Israel company’s developing the Neurolief, a headband-like device that they claim could have the same effect, without a surgical procedure. It’s currently still in development and has not yet been approved by the FDA.
Nope, you didn’t stumble into Hogwarts. A recent study published in the Cephalagia journal showed that transmagnetic stimulation—waving a wand with magnetic waves over the brain, in order to impact the neural circuitry— could work to prevent migraines.
Tosymra™ is a sumatriptan nasal spray that’s showing promising results for migraine sufferers due to its high absorption rate. An article on The American Migraine Foundation says, “The primary outcome showed that 43.8% of participants were pain-free at two hours post-dose.”
Vestibular migraines, a type of migraine that causes intense vertigo with or without head pain, are notoriously difficult to treat. Pain relievers don’t treat dizziness, and medications for vertigo often make sufferers too drowsy to go about their day.
According to a new study published in Neurology, the electrical device GammaCore, which is already approved for the treatment of typical migraines, might provide new hope for vestibular migraine sufferers. The handheld device works by stimulating the vagus nerve, one of many nerves that send messages back and forth between your brain and your body. “Stimulating the vagus nerve appears to calm down centers in the brain that cause migraine and vertigo,” Dr. Shin Beh, the study’s lead researcher, said.
Of the 14 participants treated for vestibular migraine in the study, 13 said their symptoms improved and two said their vertigo disappeared completely. Participants who experienced head pain along with dizziness said the device relieved their headache too. Results like these are hard to ignore, especially for a condition as overlooked as vestibular migraine, but it’s difficult to draw firm conclusions from such a small study.
Reyvow™ was approved after two clinical studies showed it was significantly more effective than a placebo at relieving pain, nausea, and light/sound sensitivity within two hours. The studies included over 3,000 adult migraine sufferers and suggested that side effects could include dizziness, fatigue, and a burning or prickling sensation in the skin.
So what exactly is Reyvow™? Known generically as lasmiditan, the oral medication works similarly to a triptan but impacts fewer serotonin receptors in the brain. Dr. Jan Brandes, a Neurology professor at Vanderbilt University, called Reyvow™ “a new and novel option” for acute migraine treatment.
So, what’s the big takeaway here? The medical community’s (finally) taking migraines seriously and they’re spending a lot of money to understand them better and find better treatments.
If you’re looking for an effective treatment plan today, get started with Cove. We provide affordable treatment plans that are personalized for every single patient. And, in addition to that, we do everything online. That means you can connect with a licensed doctor from the comfort of home. Start your consultation now.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.