New Migraine Prevention Drug Approved By FDA

A new drug used to help prevent migraines in adults was just approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, WAFB reports. The new drug is called Emgality and is used specifically to prevent migraines, not to treat the pain caused by them.

The list price for the drug is $575 per month. That price point is expensive but could be worth it for Americans who are suffering from consistent, debilitating migraines. Severe migraines can cause pain in the head, vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light. People suffering from migraines typically need to take time off from work, and are unable to perform daily functions as usual while they are afflicted.

The recommended dose of Emgality is 240 mg, administered in two separate injections. The injections are consecutive and should be administered monthly. The FDA intends for this to be a drug that users can administer themselves. Similar to how diabetic patients must administer their own insulin, patients or their caregiver will learn how to give themselves the drug using a pre-filled pen or syringe.

The National Headache Foundation says that patients usually begin showing signs of migraines in early adolescence or their 20s — and that about 28 million Americans have them.

WebMD reports that Emgality is the third drug approved by the FDA that claims to prevent migraines in adults. The maker of the drug, Eli Lily and Co., said that it should be available to the public soon.

“I have lived with migraine for more than 30 years, and I have experienced firsthand the impact it has on your life, including the ability to perform daily activities,” Jill Dehlin, chairwoman of the Patient Leadership Council of the National Headache Foundation, said in a joint press release. “Those of us living with migraine have spent years hoping for new treatment options, and I am thankful for the efforts by researchers, investigators, and clinical trial patients who have helped make this possible.”

The trial study for the drug included more than 1,700 episodic migraine sufferers. Those who received the drug reported fewer headache days than those who received the placebo. Those results were replicated in a second trial.

A third trial of more than 1,100 chronic migraine sufferers had similar positive results.

Side effects of the drug included pain, reactions, and skin reddening at the injection site. There are other potential side effects, and anyone interested in trying the new drug should discuss treatment options — and potential side effects — thoroughly with their doctor.