LivingNew weapons arrive to combat migraine

New weapons arrive to combat migraine

Migraine is a highly disabling disease, which is commonly and mistakenly considered a simple headache. Of neurological origin, it affects 12% of the population, with a much higher incidence in women.

Its chronic form is the one with the greatest impact, since it implies that they suffer at least fifteen days of headaches a month for more than three months. Of those days, eight or more have all the characteristics of migraine with or without aura (the latter leads to sensory disturbances, such as vision of flashes of light or blind spots).

The ailment also seriously damages working life: 90% of those affected declare that they cannot work normally. And we must add the economic damage: the cost of migraine in Europe is estimated at about 27,000 million euros per year.

Although the exact causes of this disease are unknown, it has been shown that when it arises, levels of the neuropeptide (a type of molecule) related to the calcitonin gene (CGRP), linked to the blood circulating through the external jugular vein, skyrocket. to migraine episodes. The neuropeptide binds to the receptor for this gene and pain is triggered.

Fortunately, the Ministry of Health already finances two new drugs that are able to effectively block this process. That public health covers the cost of these drugs is great news for the million and a half Spaniards who, according to the Spanish Society of Neurology, have chronic migraines.

An effective duo

The drugs are erenumab, a monoclonal antibody developed by Novartis; and galcanezumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, developed by Lilly. The former selectively blocks the receptor for the calcitonin neuropeptide-related gene (CGRP).

Dr. Sonia Santos Lasaosa, head of the Headache Unit at the Lozano Blesa University Clinical Hospital in Zaragoza, states that, “unlike current oral preventive treatments, which can make it difficult to comply with the treatment, cause a lack of response and adverse effects very disabling in certain patients, this new drug is effective in people in whom several preventive treatments have not worked, and with few and mostly mild adverse effects “.

For its part, galcanezumab, being a humanized monoclonal antibody, has 10% protein of animal origin, so it is less likely to provoke an immune response. This drug directly blocks CGRP.

71.4% of the subjects who received it in a clinical trial saw their migraine episodes halved or more than half in the third week of treatment. Erenumab reduces migraine days per month by more than 50% in between 40% and 50% of patients, and long-term treatment frees one third of them from the ailment.

By Marta Riesgo

Slaves and Disabled: Forced Medical Test Volunteers

The main problem to carry out medical research is to have willing volunteers for it. And if they come out for free, much better. This is the story of unethical behavior in medical research.

Do health teleconsultations work?

Does teleconsultation in health work? How should we apply it? We tell you the advantages and disadvantages of teleconsultation.

Breast cancer has little pink

Given that in Mexico 70% of cancer diagnoses are made at an advanced stage, the cost is extremely high both in terms of impact on patients and their families.

Oxytocin could help repair the heart after injury

The 'love hormone' could help regenerate damaged heart tissue after injury. The study has been done with zebra fish and human cells.

Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology 2022 for Svante Pääbo, father of paleogenetics

His advances in paleogenomics have been crucial for this great recognition.