The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that it approved the drug Aimovig, a monthly form of medication that is said to be the first drug designed to combat chronic migraines.
According to a report from the Associated Press (via Time), Aimovig, which is co-developed by drug manufacturing giants Amgen and Novartis, is the first in a series of drugs that are specifically designed to deal with migraines on a long-term basis. And it possibly won’t be the only such anti-migraine drug to be approved by government regulators before the end of the current decade. Another three shots are said to be likely approved sometime in 2019, while a number of pills are also looming as candidates for imminent approval, as testing on the new drugs continues.
At a yearly cost of $6,900 without insurance, Aimovig won’t come cheap once it is made available to consumers. That also means it’s going to cost almost $600 each time users inject themselves with the medication by using a pen-like device. However, research on the new anti-migraine drug revealed those that took Aimovig suffered from such headaches at a much lower monthly rate than they used to, with patients only getting an average of four migraines a month instead of the usual eight. In some cases, patients even reported that they didn’t suffer from any migraines at all, according to Amgen research doctor Sean Harper.
The above stats were in contrast to the participants who were given a placebo, as their number of monthly migraines decreased by just two. While subjects in both groups experienced minor side effects, these were described as similar, and nothing more serious than colds or respiratory infections.
As explained by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website, migraines are especially intense headaches that are characterized by intense and throbbing pain, nausea and/or vomiting, visual disturbances, and sensitivity to light and sound; migraines are also about three times more common in women than they are in men.
At the present, migraine sufferers use remedies such as Botox, which is usually used for removing or reducing wrinkles, and pills that were created as a treatment for epilepsy and other disorders. But with people having often reported serious side effects or a general lack of efficacy for those remedies, Aimovig offers a lot of promise. This drug and the others in development are able to isolate and target CGRP, a substance whose levels become much higher in the bloodstream whenever someone suffers a migraine. However, the Associated Press concluded by warning that Aimovig’s safety has yet to be tested in depth, even as Amgen researchers are planning to run another battery of tests to see how well it could work on mothers who become pregnant while taking the drug.