Two weeks ago the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the monoclonal antibody erenumab (brand name Aimovig, marketed by Amgen and Novartis) for the prevention of migraine in adult patients. Aimovig is a first in class calcitonin-gene-related peptide antagonist (CGRP). The once-monthly self-injectable drug is the first in its class of calcitonin-gene-related peptide antagonists to get the FDA nod for prevention of migraine. Other preventive migraine treatments in the same class are poised to enter the market later this year.
Many experts believe the approval of Aimovig marks the dawn of a new era in the treatment of chronic sufferers of migraine.
Migraine is a common, chronic neurovascular disorder characterized by severe, debilitating headaches that can last for several hours, or even days, and can recur as frequently as daily. Migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and other neurological symptoms, such as light and noise sensitivity, as well as visual aura. An estimated 10-15% of Americans suffer from migraines. Women are particularly at risk. Migraine is in the top ten diseases in terms of highest cause of disability. Additionally, management of the disease presents a substantial economic burden related to lost productivity and use of healthcare resources, such as physician and emergency room visits.
Migraine is a disease with significant unmet medical need. Notably, the World Health Organization selected migraine as a condition which should be prioritized for development of more effective treatments. While several classes of migraine treatments are available for many patients – both over-the-counter and by prescription – their effectiveness is limited. Some treatments address pain associated with migraine. These include acetaminophen, caffeine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, as well as beta-blockers and anti-depressants. Others are migraine-specific therapies, such…