Has Migraine Met Its Match? The Latest in Treatment

Hide Video Transcript

Video Transcript

There's new hope for the millions of people who suffer with frequent migraines. In what is a huge breakthrough, the FDA has now approved a first-of-its-kind targeted therapy designed to prevent migraines before they start. Here now, in our series, "In Their Own Words, Moving Beyond Migraine", we learn how this new approach is helping patients and doctors fight back against the pain. Lynn Kaufman was just 12 years old when the migraines began.

I knew before I opened my eyes that I was going to have a migraine. That's how bad it was.

Over her 50 years of suffering from migraines, Lynn, with her husband in tow, saw an army of specialists and tried every new recommended treatment.

Probably four or five internists followed by six or seven neurologists. I tried every medication that's possible. We have my Imitrex and my Dramamine, Maxalt and my naratriptan. I don't even know what these things are. Natural pain-relieving gel, which I would rub on my forehead and on my shoulders. I tried chiropractic, acupuncture, multiple diets. Bottom line is that absolutely nothing worked.

Lynn's story is common. People with migraines know that until now there have been few options for migraine prevention, but there is new hope for migraine sufferers. It's called CGRP-targeted therapy, and the FDA has approved the first drugs in this new class of treatments.

I've been involved in headache medicine for 30 years, and the CGRP-targeted therapies are definitely the most exciting development I've seen.

CGRP is a chemical that spikes in the body during a migraine attack and is believed to be involved in the transmission of pain during a migraine. These new drugs are designed to prevent migraine symptoms before they start by either targeting the CGRP molecules or blocking the receptors to which they attach.

The CGRP antibodies are the first example of designer drugs for migraine. And at least thus far, these drugs seem to be really great both in terms of efficacy and lack of side effects.

Is it a game changer? I think, potentially, it is.
Dr. David Kudrow is Lynn's doctor. He says one of the most encouraging aspects of the results, so far, is little side effects.
It's the same as you would see in the placebo patients. You can't separate out the side effect profile from the patients who are actually getting the medication from the patients who were getting placebo, which is really amazing.

Several companies are working on advancing these medications. There is one caveat, however -- the price tag. These new treatments are expected to cost thousands of dollars a year -- an expensive option. But patients like Lynn say they would still buy these drugs because the hope of a life with little or even no migraines is worth nearly any cost.

It's just a victory to feel good. It's hard to explain the absence of pain. It's a wonderful thing.

So how well are you managing your migraines? Go to webmd.com/migraine to take an assessment. You'll get personalized results with strategies to help you live better.