AAN 2018: Novel therapy for ‘difficult-to-treat’ migraines revealed

Written by Sharon Salt, Editor

According to a preliminary Phase IIIB LIBERTY trial presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting (April 21–27, CA, USA), researchers have disclosed that a monoclonal antibody – termed erenumab – could prevent difficult-to-treat migraines in individuals who have tried unsuccessfully to prevent their migraines with other treatments.
Aimovig™ (erenumab) is a monoclonal antibody that blocks pain signals by targeting a receptor for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which is known to transmit migraine pain signals. Erenumab occupies the nerves to which CGRP would usually bind.

“The people we included in our study were considered more difficult to treat, meaning that up to four other preventative treatments hadn’t worked for them,” commented Uwe Reuter (The Charité – University Medicine Berlin, Germany), one of the authors of the study. “Our study found that erenumab reduced the average number of monthly migraine headaches by more than 50% for nearly a third of study participants. That reduction in migraine headache frequency can greatly improve a person’s quality of life.”

Reuter noted that new preventative treatments are needed for migraine, as the current treatments often do not work well or have numerous side effects that result in individuals stopping their use.

Read more about erenumab:

In the LIBERTY study, 246 episodic migraine patients who had experienced two to four previous preventative treatment failures were randomized to receive monthly subcutaneous injections of either erenumab 140 mg or placebo for 12 weeks. Of the participants, 39% had been treated unsuccessfully with two other medications, 38% with three medications and 23% with four medications. On average, study participants experienced nine migraine headaches a month and used an acute migraine drug to stop an attack five-times a month.

After 3 months, researchers revealed that people treated with erenumab were nearly three-times more likely to have reduced their migraine days by 50% or more, than those treated with placebo. A total of 30% of the individuals treated with erenumab had half the number of headaches compared to 14% on placebo.

Those treated with erenumab also had a greater average reduction in the number of days they had headaches and the number of days they needed to take drugs to stop the migraines. For those on erenumab, there was an average 1.6-times greater reduction in migraine days and a 1.7-times greater reduction in acute medication days compared to those on placebo.

Reuter added that: “Our results show that people who thought their migraines were difficult to prevent may actually have hope on finding pain relief. More research is now needed to understand who is most likely to benefit from this new treatment.”

To conclude, Mark Toms (Chief Scientific Officer at Novartis, Frimley, UK) stated: “There has been no real advancement in migraine treatment for the past 20 years and we’re proud to be breaking new ground in neurology for the millions of people in the UK living with the painful and disruptive symptoms of migraine. Whilst these data further reinforce erenumab’s efficacy and safety profile it also highlights the clear unmet need that exists for targeted migraine prophylactic treatment and we are committed to working closely with the relevant regulatory bodies to make erenumab available to those that need it as soon as possible.”

Sources: www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/PressRelease/1641www.novartis.com/news/media-releases/novartis-presents-first-its-kind-evidence-aan-reinforcing-robust-and-consistent-efficacy-aimovigtm-erenumab-migraine-patients-multiple-treatment-failures