Migraine headaches affect around 6 to 8% of males and 10 to 12% of females. It is one of the top five neurological conditions and costs people healthy lives. There is little research on how the current preventative treatments for migraine work. Researchers have speculated that the suppression of cortical spreading depression could be a process at play.
Typically migraine patients are given beta-blockers such as propranolol and metroprolol, anticonvulsants valproate and topiramate, and the calcium channel bocker flunarizine as first line medications. These drugs have been shown in randomized placebo controlled studies to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
A new treatment option could be placed in monoclonal antibodies that target a neuropeptide called CGRP (Calcitonin Gene-related Peptide). CGRP plays is thought to play a key role in headaches. CGRP receptor antagonists have been developed for the treatment of acute migraine and prevention. The medication has proved effected but in some cases treatment had to be abandoned due to acute side effects, including increases of liver enzymes. This has caused CGRP receptor antagonists to have not been approved to date. Newer studies show that the new monoclonal antibody against CGRP, or its receptor, appears to cause less side effects. As such furthering developing this has a medication may be beneficial.
Another treatment for chronic migraine headaches is botulinum toxin type A. Chronic migraines are associated with a frequent incidence of headache, which leads to a lot of suffering in the individual affected. Botulinum toxin has had its beneficial effects proven in major studies and has demonstrated that it is effective in treating chronic migraines. I am hopeful that new medications can be developed to improve the quality of life of migraine suffers.