A new drug could offer hope to migraine sufferers who have tried other treatments without success.
The study involved people who have up to 14 migraine days a month. It found people taking the new pill atogepant had an average of four fewer headache days a month.
The 309 people who took part in the study had tried between two and four migraine treatments and found no improvement or side effects that outweighed the benefits.
“These results are exciting, as migraine can be debilitating, and this treatment led to fewer days with migraine,” said study author Dr Patricia Pozo-Rosich from Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona.
Atogepant is an inhibitor and stops a protein that plays a key role in starting the migraine process.
All of the study participants had had at least four migraine days in the month before the study.
Half took the new drug and half took a placebo over a three-month period.
Those taking the drug averaged four fewer migraine days, while those on the placebo had two fewer migraine days.
There were more people in the drug-taking group who saw their number of migraine days drop by 50% or more.
That group also saw improvements in how often they had to take medication to stop a migraine.
The most common side effects were constipation, which occurred in 10% of those taking atogepant and 3% of those taking the placebo, and nausea, which affected 7% of those taking the drug and 3% of those taking the placebo.
“People who thought they may not find a way to prevent and treat their migraines may have hope of finding relief with a tolerable oral easy-to-use drug,” Dr Pozo-Rosich said.
“This treatment was safe, well-tolerated and effective for people with difficult-to-treat migraine.”
One limitation of the study was it only lasted for three months, and Dr Pozo-Rosich said more research will be needed to assess the long-term efficacy and safety of atogepant.
The study was supported by AbbVie, the maker of atogepant, and presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting.