Surge In R&D Activities Bring Closer to Discover Cure for Migraine Attacks
Severe headache in one particular area that can vary in intensity and slight dizziness are the prime symptoms of migraine. About 13% of Americans (about 38 million people) suffer from migraine and most importantly, every patient has a different experience of this condition. Thus, there is a dire need for personalized treatment rather than a common drug for every patient. Unfortunately, such drug is not available in the market. This has boosted the R&D activities to develop a permanent cure for migraine, which has, in turn, propelled the growth of the migraine drug market. According to Allied Market Research, the global migraine drug market is projected to reach $2.19 billion by 2025, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1% during the period 2018–2025.
Breakthrough in finding migraine drug
Aimovig, the most recent breakthrough in the migraine drug industry can be regarded as a novel drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Aimovig is monoclonal antibodies that target calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a molecule causes migraine attacks. The drug is said to be a preventive medicine and is expected to stop the headache before it happens by discontinuing the release of proteins that are responsible for swelling of arteries, veins, and parts of covering of the brain.
Kathleen Digre, MD, a migraine specialist with University of Utah Health, stated, “This is the first designer drug that has developed to prevent migraine and–though it won’t work for everyone–it will be really effective for some patients.”
Prior to this, the FDA-approved migraine preventive treatments were designed for other conditions and later found to be effective in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. Thus, the mechanism of action of such drugs was unclear. However, CGRP monoclonal antibodies are developed using the complete knowledge of the blocking role of CGRP in the events that lead to a migraine attack, offering it a high chance of effectiveness during migraine treatments.
Ajovy: Novel drug that reduces migraine attack frequency
This is the second recently-FDA-approved migraine drug that is expected to significantly reduce the frequency of migraine attack. Ajovy, the migraine drug is developed by Teva Pharmaceuticals, the Israeli multinational pharmaceutical company, and would cost about $575 (per month) and $1,725 (quarterly) per dose. The patients with severe migraine are advised to take Ajovy once per month or quarterly by injection depending on the severity of the patient’s condition.
Ajovy is a new class of drug that is now known as anti-CGRP. According to research, when CGRP is released, it causes inflammation in the meninges (covering of the brain), which in turn causes migraine attacks for most of the patients. Although the anti-CGRP drugs will not entirely prevent migraine attacks, they are expected to reduce its frequency up to 50% and can make the attacks that do occur less severe.
However, Ajovy may sound expensive to most of the patients as a treatment for a year would cost you about $7,000. However, if you have proper health insurance, you would get a discount that could cover even 100% of the total cost of the treatment.
Migraine is the third most common disease in the world and is more prevalent than diabetes, asthma, and even epilepsy. The pain of an attack can last over days at a time. Unfortunately, most of the patients suffering from chronic migraine mistook it for just a headache. If left untreated, it may lead to a change in brain chemistry and abnormal brain activity. However, increase in R&D activities to find a preventive drug for migraine gives hope of a cure. More importantly, drugs such as Ajovy show the only side effect of slight irritation at the injection site during the clinical trials, making it the most awaited breakthrough in the migraine drug market.
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