Medical News Today

Medical News Today

: Migraine: A new drug may help to prevent episodic headaches.

A younger woman puts a hand to her head

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Experts say that migraine headaches can have a negative impact on quality of life. Chelsea Victoria/Stocksy

  • Every year, migraine affects over 1 billion people worldwide.

  • There is no cure for migraine headaches. This can have a significant impact on the quality of life.

  • Researchers at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Spain, recently presented research that showed the drug atogepant helped prevent headaches for people with episodic Migraine who had not found success with other preventive medications.

  • Scientists have also reported that the drug reduces how many migraine days an individual has per month, and reduces the amount medication they need to use.

More than 1 billion people

Every year, migraine affects millions of people around the globe.

This type of severe headache can have a profound impact on a person’s life.

Quality of Life


There are some medications that can help migraines, but they may not work for everyone.

Researchers from the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain have presented research to the American Academy of Neurology’s annual 75th meeting showing that the drug


Already approved in the United States for prevention of

Episodic migraine

This drug is effective in preventing episodic migraine headaches, even for those who have not been able to find relief with other medications.

Scientists say that the drug also helps reduce how many migraine attacks participants have per month and how often they take medication to stop an attack.

Migraine is an inflammatory neurological condition that causes recurring headaches, usually on one side of your head. The sensation can be intense and throbbing.

Other symptoms of migraine include

A person who has up to 14 headaches per month is said to have episodic migraine. If they experience 15 or more headaches per month, this is called episodic migraine.

Chronic migraine


Migraine headaches are caused by many triggers.

Dr. Vernon Williams is a sports neurologist, pain management specialist and founding director of Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, Los Angeles. He told Medical News Today that it’s not uncommon to find people with episodic headaches who haven’t had success with preventative medications.

Some patients respond well with a variety of preventive medications. He explained that some patients will experience side effects, while others may have difficulty with the medication’s efficacy.

Williams said that it is important to take preventative medication for episodic headaches, as they can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to function.

He said that if migraines negatively impact someone’s ability to function, quality-of-life, or do the things they want to, need to, and would like to, it is very helpful to use an agent such as this to prevent them and reduce their frequency. “So, instead of getting four, five, or eight headaches per month, or even 10 headaches per month, they may only get one headache each month or every other month.”

Williams continued, “You can see the impact that this would have on people’s ability to perform at work, do what they need to at school, take care of their family (and) interact” with their loved ones. It’s about allowing people to do what they want, need, and need to without the headaches that can make it difficult to be fully present.

According to Dr. Medhat Mihael, who is a pain management specialist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and the medical director of their non-operative program, doctors treat migraine headaches using a variety medications, including



calcium channel blockers


anti-seizure medications


He said that they are not always effective.

Mikhael told

Medical News Today

The class of

CGRP inhibitors

They are seeing better results with the new migraine treatments and preventions, including atogepant.

“We saw… less migraine days (but also) less severe (migraine pains that can be treated) with some

over-the-counter (medications)

“, he continued. “And some patients have gone months without any migraine headaches or migraine days.”

Mikhael explained that CGRP inhibitors are effective in both preventing and treating migraine headaches because they bind the receptor for the CGRP. This prevents a cascade reaction that causes the headaches.

Trigeminal nerve

Head to become inflamed.

“The (CGRP inhibitors’) main advantage is that they do not cause vasoconstriction.”

trigeminal artery

Like the class of the


“We use a lot of these drugs to prevent migraine,” he said. “With CGRP inhibitors you don’t have any patients who experience chest tightness, neck tightness or flushing. The side effect profile is very low, and most patients tolerate it very well.

Researchers evaluated the efficacy and safety of atogepant, a type CGRP inhibitor, for the prevention episodic migraines in people who previously failed to respond to two to four oral preventative medications.

The 309 participants were given either atogepant (or a placebo) for 12 weeks.

The research team found that the participants who took atogepant experienced an average of four less migraine days per month between the beginning of the study and its conclusion. This was compared to just two fewer migraine days for those who took a placebo.

Scientists also found that those who took this drug needed less medication to stop migraine attacks compared to those taking a placebo.

Constipation and nausea were reported as the most common side-effects.

“People who believed they would never find a way of preventing and treating their migraines can now have hope with a tolerable and easy-to-use oral drug,” said Dr. Patricia Pozo-Rosich. She is a study’s author and the director of the Headache & Neurological Pain Research group at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital. This treatment was well tolerated, safe and effective for those with difficult-to treat migraine.