"Most people think of migraine as headaches. But head pain is commonly accompanied by severe, disabling symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness and sensitivity to light, sounds and smells. The disease is far more widespread than realized: About 38 million Americans, or 12% of the population, have them, according to the non-profit Migraine Research Foundation.
But treatment options are limited. Just a handful of drugs were developed specifically for migraine, though drugs for other conditions including blood pressure and epilepsy have been found to work, too. Still, there haven’t been any new drugs in development for some time, experts say.
A promising new group of drugs, named after calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a neurotransmitter tied to migraine, has changed that. CGRP drugs are being developed both to prevent migraines before they happen, and to stop attacks once they occur.
The former category is closest to being available for patients. About seven million patients would likely get the treatment, estimates Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat, with an $8 billion to $10 billion potential market size.
Amgen Inc. AMGN, -1.03% has already filed for approval, and Eli Lilly & Co. LLY, -0.21% and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. TEVA, +1.61% have plans for later this year.
Alder BioPharmaceuticals Inc. ALDR, -0.85% is also developing a preventive CGRP drug, and further research on the drug class is expected at the American Headache Society’s annual meeting, which began Thursday and runs through Sunday.
But price and access remain a persistent question. Projections begin at about $8,500, concerning patients and headache experts alike.
Dr. Lawrence Newman, director of the headache division at NYU Langone Medical Center and immediate past president of the American Headache Society, says that could add on to the “double whammy” of having migraines, which describes the symptoms and stigma patients face.
“I’m concerned that the patient will again be exposed to that double whammy,” he said. “They’re made to suffer because of the disease they have and because the insurance company won’t allow them access to a potentially effective therapy.”#MigraineAndHeadacheDisorderAwarenessMonth #chronicmigraine #NotAHeadache #migrainenews #MHAM