Migraine headaches inflict debilitating pain that sends people home from work and interferes with their personal lives. Migraine sufferers often resort to rescue medications to treat the pain once it hits, but a 2021 study of an oral migraine preventive medication called atogepant showed promising results. The drug could soon offer relief to some of the 38 million people in the United States stricken with multiple migraines every month.
Researchers have identified an amino acid chain called a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) as a factor in migraine headaches. During a migraine attack, CGRP levels rise noticeably. Anti-CGRP medications block activity around this amino acid chain. This drug class is not effective for all patients but does improve quality of life for others.
Since 2020, anti-CGRP drugs have been prescribed to migraine sufferers. Many required injection or infusion treatments, but atogepant provides an oral medication that is much more convenient for people to take. Atogepant remains experimental and has yet to receive FDA approval for marketing as a migraine medication.
Study Shows Reduction Of Migraine Episodes
On August 19, 2021, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a phase 3 clinical trial of atogepant required for FDA approval. The study looked at 873 test subjects ages 18 to 73 who experienced at least 7 migraine headaches per month. The people receiving the drug instead of placebo reported that their number of days per month with migraine symptoms went down by approximately 50%. Armed with these results, the drug maker AbbVie has advanced its FDA application for atogepant.
Study participants who experienced fewer days of migraine symptoms were able to cut down on taking rescue medication. Assessment tests on their ability to complete daily activities showed improvement in their scores after a 12-week course of medication. These findings indicate that atogepant and perhaps other anti-CGRP drugs could significantly help migraine sufferers avoid setbacks at work, school, and home.
Do you or any of your co-workers miss work due to migraines?