Stopping Migraines Before They Start

Migraine patients had fewer attacks with monoclonal antibody treatment

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Nursing oneself back from a migraine is one thing. Preventing those dizzying, painful headaches from happening altogether is another matter.

Two relatively new medications lessened the number of migraines per month in those who regularly battle these headaches, according to two preliminary studies.

"Ask your doctor about migraine medicines."

Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, of the University of California at San Francisco, was the main author of one of the studies. David Dodick, MD, of Mayo Clinic Arizona in Phoenix, was the main author of the other study. Both of these researchers were a part of each of the two studies.

For Dr. Goadsby’s study, these researchers enrolled 163 people who had migraines for five to 14 days monthly. Of those 163 persons, 82 were randomly given a placebo injection containing no actual medicine. The remaining 81 persons were injected with a single 1,000-milligram dose of ALD403, a monoclonal antibody.

After 24 weeks of tracking the group of 163, the researchers concluded that those who took ALD403, on average, had 5.6 fewer days with a migraine headache. That represented a 66 percent decrease in migraine days.

Those who received the placebo had 4.6 fewer migraine days each month — a decline of 52 percent.

In addition, 16 percent of the 81 persons taking ALD403 had no migraines by the 12th week of after receiving that single dose. At the 12-week mark, no one taking the placebo was migraine-free.

For the other study, the researchers enrolled 217 people who had migraines from four to 14 days per month. For 12 weeks, members of that group either were injected biweekly with 150 milligrams of the monoclonal antibody LY2951742 or received biweekly injections of placebo.

On average, those who took LY2951742 had 4.2 fewer migraine days a month, a 63 percent decrease, than those who took the placebo. Placebo-takers saw their migraine days fall by 42 percent. The placebo group, on average, had three fewer migraine days per month.

Side effects among those injected with LY2951742 included pain in the area where they received that shot, upper respiratory tract infections and abdominal pain.

There were no significant differences in the signs of vital organs function or in side effects between those receiving ALD403 in Dr. Goady’s study and those in that study who received the placebo. The researchers did not, however, list what side effects, if any, showed in Dr. Goady’s study participants.

“These results may potentially represent a new era in preventive therapy for migraine,” Dr. Goadsby said in an announcement about this preliminary study.

“There is a huge treatment need for migraine, the third most common and seventh most disabling medical disorder in the world," Dr. Dodick said.

"We’re cautiously optimistic that a new era of mechanism-based migraine prevention is beginning," he said.

Migraines are extremely painful headaches that usually happen on one side of the head. Their symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizzying and sensitivity to light.

Women are roughly twice as likely as men to have migraines, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Findings from these two preliminary studies are slated to be presented during the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting, April 26 to May 3, 2014 in Philadelphia.

Alder Biopharmaceuticals, maker of ALD403, and Arteaus, maker of LY2951742, funded these studies.

Review Date: 
April 22, 2014
Last Updated:
April 24, 2014