After successful and safe clinical trials, the FDA has approved a first-of-its-kind migraine preventative medicine. It's the first in an entirely new class of drugs designed to block the activity of a specific peptide known to activate migraines that has been cleared for public use by the agency.

The newly approved drug is erenumab, which is marketed as Aimovig, and it works by blocking calcitonin gene-related peptide receptors (CGRP-R) in the brain. By blocking these receptors, known to be critical in migraine activation, trials found that subjects suffering from chronic migraines reported significant reductions in the frequency of their debilitating attacks.

Aimovig is taken once a month as a self-administered injection. It comes in two different dosage tiers and does not require any sort of loading dose. The listing price in the United States is set at US$575 for a single monthly dose (or $6,900 annually). So, it's certainly not cheap, but it also isn't hitting the absurd sky-high levels of some other new drugs hitting the market.

Aimovig is just one of four different treatments currently in development that target CGRP receptors. It is the first to reach the market and gives migraine sufferers hope that science has finally found a way to treat what has long been a frustratingly untreatable condition.

"Aimovig is the first therapy of its kind targeting the CGRP receptor, and has demonstrated robust efficacy across the spectrum of migraine," says Paul Hudson, CEO Novartis Pharmaceuticals. "We look forward to working closely with Amgen in the U.S. to bring this treatment to physicians and their patients, who could now gain days of their lives back each month."

Sources: Novartis, FDA

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