A new drug for migraine, Rimegepant, is promising, according to the researchers, in treating the symptoms of acute headache and in general to reduce the pain of migraines by working on a specific protein, CGRP.
With a large-scale study, then published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, therefore, give new hope to all those people with acute migraine for whom the existing drugs did not have the desired effects, as specified by Richard B. Lipton, first author of the study.
Migraine is in fact a fairly widespread pathology (it is estimated that it affects 12-14% of people worldwide) and many of the people who suffer it regularly are severely damaged even in their daily activity.
To date, many people suffering from migraines take triptan drugs (including the latter including sumitriptan, elecrtanetan and rizatriptan) that work on serotonin receptors, which in turn narrows blood vessels reducing inflammation.
However, triptan drugs do not have the same effects for all people and can produce unpleasant side effects. Furthermore, these drugs cannot be taken by those people who already suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
Instead, the new study evaluated the effects of rimegepant. Some of the study participants had to take a rimegepant tablet during a migraine attack while others had to take a placebo tablet.
After two hours of taking the researchers noted a significant statistical difference: 19.6% of patients taking rimegepant were pain-free compared to 12% of the placebo group. Furthermore, the side effects were minimal and only a few people had nausea and urinary tract problems.
The drug works on receptors for a small per protein called CGRP. This is one of the proteins released during migraine attacks and is thought to be one of the pain makers. The trial was sponsored by Biohaven, a company that produces remegepant and of which Lipton himself is a shareholder.