Current medications treat only the symptoms of recurring migraines; they offer no help to prevent the start of a migraine attack.
Researchers investigating the intricate details of how pain is felt during migraine episodes have zeroed in on the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a neuropeptide found throughout the human nervous system. CGRP is a potent vasodilator and can function in the transmission of pain through the trigeminal nerve structure.
Several pharmaceutical companies are now conducting Phase III clinical trials for CGRP antagonists, which block the pain transmission activity of the neuropeptide.
However, a note of caution is warranted. Some candidate drugs fail during Phase III trials for a number of reasons, including toxicity levels in other organs such as the liver.
Also, don’t expect to be able to simply take a pill to prevent migraines. The new preventive drugs are monoclonal antibodies targeting CGRP, and must be given by subcutaneous injection twice a month or intravenous (IV) injection once every 3 months.
Stay tuned for further updates.
See also: Migraine Signs and Symptoms