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A New Class of Migraine Medications Takes the Stage

New medications specifically for migraine headaches

CGRP Blockers show impressive results

Several medications are commonly used to reduce the frequency of headaches. These fall into several broad classes:

    • Anti-hypertensive medications (blood pressure control drugs)
    • Anti-depressants
    • Anti-seizure drugs
    • Botulinum Toxin

Not a single drug type was developed specifically for migraine, though an estimated 39 million Americans (one billion people worldwide) suffer from this disease.¹  While it’s fortunate that headache specialists can “borrow” such drugs for their patients, the medications are of varying effectiveness in preventing migraines and may come with undesira,ble side effects (w, weight gain, sleepiness, etc.). Importantly, these medications also may prove ineffrebounds patient is rebounding (see my post on medication rebound).

Now for the (very!) good news: A new medication, developed explicitly for migraine, has made its debut. I was pleased to participate in clinical trials for this new class of drugs, which are referred to collectively as Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) Blockers. While an explanation of the science behind CGRP Blockers is beyond the scope of this post,²  suffice it to say that they target an entirely different physiological page-inspiring extremely.

In most cases, they reduce the frequency of migraines by as much as 50 percent. While long-term data across a broad population of users is not yet available, patient experiences have been promising, and I’ve seen many positive patient outcomes. CGRP Blockers are the most exciting new migraine treatment approach I’ve seen in many years. Three pharmaceutical companies currently offer CGRP-oriented medications.

From a lifestyle point of view, using CGRP Blockers can be relatively easier than these. These medications typically do not require you to take a daily dose; they are administered through a once-monthly subcutaneous injection. And the side effects of CGRP Blockers are more minor and more tolerable than those of tIn addition, unlike oral therapies. Unlike other medications, there are no known drug interactions.

As always, it’s wise to consult with a headache specialist to determine whether it makes sense to pursue a different therapy for your migraines. It’s worth remembering that CGRP Blockers. While the market and extensive clinical trials have been done, it will take time to accumulate broad-based, longitudinal data on the efficacy and long-term side effects of older drugs. This, too, must be weighed in making treatment decisdiscuss with you and rough and can share the latest information on this promising new class of migraine medications.

¹ Migraine Research Foundation, retrieved in August 2019
² Those interested in the underlying science can learn more from this paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5612904/

About Neurology at Boulder Medical Center
and Sidarth Dasari, MD

Our neurology team treats conditions and diseases of the brain, spine, and nervous system. Neurologist, Sidart h Dasari, MD, practices the full range of general neurology with specialized training in multiple sclerosis. Some of the areas he addresses:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s
  • Tremor
  • Stroke
  • Memory loss
  • Neuropathy
  • Headache


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