A new type of medication for migraines could result in a huge sigh of relief for those who desperately need it.
While ubrogepant, the new drug, has not yet received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, a recent large-scale trial shows promising results, suggesting that the orally administered pill will work safely.
According to research, a severe migraine can be completely stopped by ubrogepant in as short as two hours, which puts in well above a placebo and less riskier than your typical drug.
“Having ubrogepant as a potential new medication for the acute treatment of migraine will provide much-needed innovation for a disease that causes lost time for millions of people,” according to neurologist Richard Lipton, Allergan consultant, which is the pharmaceutical company that sponsored the trial.
A severe migraine is more than just a headache gone worse, and it is more difficult to treat for. Over 38 million people suffer from this neurological disease in the US alone. One-third of the patients are dissatisfied with their care, according to surveys.
Every patient is unique, so safe and effective treatments that reliably cover everyone are few and far between. In severe cases, there are even fewer options which can make it worse.
From 90s onwards, triptans have been the most widely accepted class of migraine medication for cases where over-the-counter meds simply are ineffective.
But while triptans might help reduce pain and inflammation, blood vessels in the body contract as a side effect. Consequently, the drug is dangerous for anyone with a liability for heart disease or strokes among other things.
That said, it has been a long time since there has been reliable treatment for acute migraines. In fact, the FDA only recently approved a novel class of medication, called gepants, which can prevent headaches before they even set off.