FDA approves 1st drug specifically designed to prevent migraines


There's good news for people who suffer from migraine headaches. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-its-kind drug designed to prevent migraines. 

Cleveland Clinic headache specialist Zubair Ahmed said erenumab is the first medication developed for the sole purpose of preventing migraine headaches. 

It's significant because we've never had any preventatives specifically designed for patients who have migraine, he said. We've always used medicines for seizures or for blood pressure or antidepressants to help treat migraine at least as preventatives go.

The drug is a calcitonin gene related peptide, or CGRP, blocker and will be available as a once-monthly self-injection.

MORE ONLINE: FDA announcement on drug approval

According to Dr. Ahmed, the drug essentially tells the brain to turn off a migraine by blocking a molecule that causes headaches. 

Recent research shows that people with hard-to-treat migraines who took the new drug reported fewer headaches, used fewer headache rescue medications, and were able to function better.  

Dr. Ahmed said the drug will give migraine sufferers another option for headache relief. 

There is hope on the horizon. Were very optimistic, but were also cautiously optimistic. We know there isnt one treatment that is a cure for migraine because its a chronic condition but this may be one step closer in that direction, he said.

Reported side effects of short-term use include injection site irritation and constipation, according to the FDA. Dr. Ahmed said more studies are needed to assess long-term side effects from the drug.