New Research on Migraine

I mentioned in the post yesterday that I just returned from the International Headache Congress.  There are several items of importance for migraine sufferers that I want to share. I will ty to do one post every few days to bring patients up to day.

The most exciting thing coming in the future for migraine sufferers are what I call (in laymen’s terms) the “migraine vaccine.” This is a humanized antibody against a powerful chemical compound that the brain uses to start migraine, called CGRP. This antibody is injected under the skin either monthly or possible every three months.  Some of the studies presented last week suggest that the interval between injections could be even longer.  The most exciting news about this treatment to prevent migraines is that of the five “vaccines” being studied, so far none have shown side effects and all seem to be effective.  In some cases the patient stops having migraines altogether after the vaccine. In others the number of days per month is reduced.  These should be available to the public in about two to three years, once all the trials for safety are complete.

Another powerful brain chemical for starting a migraine is called pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP).  We know less about this peptide so far, but a recent study showed that when most patients are infused with it, it immediately starts a migraine. Therefore, we know that this brain chemical plays a big role in the development of a migraine and is another weak link in the chain that could be broken or blocked.  In the distance future, when we know all the inflammatory chemicals involved in migraine attacks, our treatments will be extremely effective and almost side effect free.

I will remind readers that the reason the brain releases these chemicals to produce an attack, is due to genetic errors or less often injuries and other acquired influences.