Nearly 80% of people taking a new class of medication to prevent migraine say their migraine headaches are “better” since they started taking the drugs, according to a survey conducted by Eli Lilly.
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors prevent migraines by blocking a key protein released during migraine attacks from binding to nerve receptors in the brain. Since 2018, the FDA has approved three injectable CGRP inhibitors and one oral CGRP medication for migraine prevention. Eli Lilly makes Emgality (galcanezumab), one of the monthly self-injected drugs.
Nearly 600 migraine patients who use CGRP inhibitors participated in the survey, which is part of Lilly’s OVERCOME study, a large web-based survey of migraine sufferers.
While 79.2% said their migraine was better, nearly 10% said it was worse and about 11% said there was no change. The findings were relatively consistent between patients who suffer a handful of migraines each month and those who have them more frequently.
“It is very encouraging that nearly 4 out of 5 people in the survey taking a CGRP monoclonal antibody felt better and reported their migraine had improved,” Sait Ashina, MD, a neurologist and scientific advisor to the OVERCOME study, said in a statement.
“It is also notable that the OVERCOME survey reported the clinically meaningful distinction between individuals who reported no change in their migraine with those who said their migraine worsened. This distinction can enhance conversations between the healthcare provider and the patient regarding treatment expectations when considering the use of these novel migraine preventive medications.”
Nearly two-thirds (62.6%) of those who used a CGRP inhibitor said they also took another migraine prevention drug, such as topiramate and duloxetine. Use of an additional medication was generally higher among patients who reported frequent migraines.
Lilly presented the survey results this week at the 18th Migraine Trust International Symposium.
The findings are similar to those in a 2019 survey of migraine patients conducted by Health Union. Over half of those using CGRP inhibitors said the benefits of taking the drugs outweighed their side effects. About 9 percent said the medications were not worth the side effects, which include constipation, fatigue and weight gain.