US approves Aimovig, the drug developed to stop chronic migraines


Migraine’s origins are still largely unknown to the science. Humankind lives with this specific type of headache for thousands years but until now there was no specific remedy for it. Common painkillers, even the most potent one have no effect on migraine. For those affected by migraine it leads to loss of quality of life, as the symptoms can be very severe: sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting and of course specific headache.

Amgen Inc. and Novartis AG developed Aimovig. It comes in form of insulin-like hypodermic pen injector. Injections are to be done once a months. One year of injections of Aimovig (aka ‘erenumab’) will cost $6900. As with many others medications the result is far from absolute. At least one study suggests that the migraine frequency of occurrence is halved with the Aimovig. The long term safety of the drug, as well as some other factors are unknown.

It works by suppressing calcitonin gene-related peptide. Increased levels of CGRP have been observed during migraine. The drug is just approved by the US regulating agency. Three more drugs based on the same principles will be available at the end of the year. Some common drugs effective while on the peak of migraine is metoprolol, valproate, topiramate.

It should be noted that migraine-like symptoms is often disguised as a true migraine. Proper diagnosis is required to use the Aimovig and other anti-migraine drugs.

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