Tuesday, June 30, 2015

3 Concerns About The New CGRP Drugs For Migraine Prevention

As migraine awareness month winds down I wanted to touch on the recent news about the CGRP drugs that are presently being developed as a migraine preventative. Here is a link that includes a great interview done by Migraine Again with Dr. Peter J. Goadsby from the UCSF Medical Center Headache Center

Sounds pretty hopeful, doesn't it? Something like 1/2 the participants saw 50% reduction in frequency and severity of attacks, with some seeing even better results. No significant side effects. Should be available in 3 or 4 years. 

Yep, sounds fantastic. BUT I'm pretty sceptical as of yet. Here are my concerns:

1. Drug companies can't always be trusted to accurately report all the side effects. We've seen it before with other medications. Hearing that there are no real side effects makes me think either these studies have been too small to get a good picture and/or the side effects are being minimized or under-reported. Usually when something sounds too good to be true, it is.

2. I'm concerned that even if this drug ends up living up to the hype, the cost might mean access is limited. How much will it cost to have these injections? How frequently will it be needed? How will the insurance companies deal with that? Will we, as patients, be able to afford trying it? If it works, will we be able to afford staying on it?

3. Even if it lives up to the hype and is affordable, what if I'm not one of the 50% who is seeing a significant benefit? I don't mean to sound pessimistic here. I really want to try it and am pretty hopeful that I'll see some benefit. If it is as advertised, it's by far the best thing medicine has to offer us. No question about that. But still, a 50/50 chance feels like it's just as likely to not happen. 

I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out over the next several years as clinic trials continue and the FDA gets involved. Time will tell. 

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