New Migraine Drug: A Neurologist Explains How It Works

Migraine typically runs in families, with about 90 percent of people with migraine having close relatives with this disorder. It affects 1 of every 7 adults in the U.S. It is three times more common in women than men.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. According to the research group Global Burden of Disease, migraine was ranked the sixth most disabling disease. What is more, among neurological disorders, migraine is the second most disabling after stroke.

The FDA announced approval on May 17 of a novel preventive treatment for migraine headaches. Aimovig is the first in a new class of migraine-specific drugs that works by blocking an action of a protein that is increased in people with migraine during headache attacks.

If over-the-counter medications are not effective, a class of drugs called triptans can be very effective. Triptans, the first drugs developed specifically for migraines, were developed in the 1980s and have remained the best option for treatment of individual migraine attacks. Triptans are not pain killers but rather work through serotonin receptors involved in the development of migraine.

Triptans can also cause medication overuse headache. And, they have the potential to cause the spasm of blood vessels. Therefore, triptans should not be used if a person has had a heart attack, stroke or peripheral vascular disease.

Read more at The Conversation