New Migraine Medicine Relieves Pain For North Texas Doctor

In May, the FDA approved the first medication aimed at preventing migraines

More than 38,000 Americans suffer from migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

There hasn't been a medicine specifically designed to treat migraines up until this summer.

In May, the FDA approved erenumab (Aimovig), the first medication aimed at preventing migraines. Allison Henderson, a pediatrician from Richardson, said the drug has changed her life.

Henderson said she's suffered from migraines since grade school.

"I remember not wanting to go to the zoo or go to camp because I was outside in the heat, in the sun and I would get a migraine. I thought all kids hated camp!" she said.

Her migraines got stronger and more frequent over the years.

She tried more than 30 medicines in hopes that something would ease the pain long enough to get her through long days as a pediatrician.

"It was difficult because I didn't have a choice. I always showed up for work. I couldn't call in sick, but being in pain would take away some of the joy of my practice."

According to her doctor, Baylor Headache Center's Dr. Priyanka Chaudhry, Henderson was a good candidate for the new migraine drug, which works by blocking a molecule called calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP, related to migraines.

"What happens is when you release CGRP, the migraines can be can be more intense. Here, we have a drug which can actually block the mechanism of CGRP," Chaudhry said.

Patients inject the medicine in their thigh or belly once a month.

It can take up to four weeks to work, while traditional treatments might take up to 12 weeks.

Chaudhry said it also doesn't come with the severe side effects associated with traditional treatments.

"Here we have a drug which hardly gives you side effects specifically designed for migraines that is now available to our headache patients," she said.

Henderson has had two injections and said she went from three or more moderate to severe migraines each week to just one mild headache a week.

"It's a whole new world, being able to go outside, especially living in Dallas, in Texas," Henderson said. "We have hot, sunny summers and I want to be able to enjoy them and not have a headache."

There is no cure for migraines.

Three more drugmakers plan to release their version of the drug in the next two years.

You are advised to check with your doctor and health insurance to see if this class of medicine is right for you. 

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