Treatment with a drug called erenumab could cut the number of days with migraine symptoms for 50% of patients. This is according to a new King’s College London study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
In the UK, an estimated 8.5 million people live with migraine. Research suggests the condition is likely to impact the lives of almost 200,000 people every day.
There is an urgent need for new treatment options. Researchers claim erenumab is the first and only fully human monoclonal antibody of its kind designed to specifically prevent migraine.
It works by blocking the Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) receptor. This receptor plays a critical role in migraine activation.
Amgen and Novartis, the codevelopers of erenumab, funded this Phase III STRIVE study.
Reducing the impact of a migraine
“STRIVE is the first fully reported Phase III study of the CGRP pathway monoclonal antibodies. It clearly shows that blocking this pathway can reduce the impact of migraine,” said Peter Goadsby, Director, NIHR-Wellcome Trust King’s Clinical Research Facility and Professor of Neurology at King’s College London.
“The results of STRIVE represent a real transition for migraine patients from poorly understood, repurposed treatments, to a specific migraine-designed therapy. STRIVE, as with the monoclonal antibody developments generally, represents an incredibly important step forward for migraine understanding and migraine treatment,” continued Goadsby.
Results of the study
These data show erenumab can significantly reduce the number of monthly migraine days experienced by patients.
There was a 3.7-day and 3.2-day reduction with erenumab 140mg and 70mg, respectively, from a baseline of 8.3-days (1.8-day reduction with placebo).
Additionally, 50% of patients treated with erenumab 140mg had the number of days with migraine symptoms cut by at least half.
This figure was 43.3% following treatment with erenumab 70mg, and 26.6% with placebo.
Results from the Migraine Physical Function Impact Diary (MPFID) show patients treated with erenumab also reported improved physical health and ability to participate in daily activities over the six month trial period.
Erenumab has also been shown to be effective and tolerable over the long term. It has a safety profile comparable to placebo.
“Migraine is too often trivialized as just a headache when, in reality, it can be a debilitating, chronic condition that can destroy lives,” said Simon Evans, Chief Executive, Migraine Action.
“The effects can last for hours – even days in many cases. An option that can prevent migraine and that is well tolerated is therefore sorely needed and we hope that this marks the start of real change in how this condition is treated and perceived.”
Professor Peter Goadsby is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator.