Promising migraine drug may work where others don’t

A new drug to prevent episodic migraines has performed well in trials, even in cases that were previously drug resistant.

It’s estimated that around the world, more than one billion people are affected by migraine each year.

A migraine, which is more than just a sore head, is classified as a severe headache that typically lasts for between four and 72 hours. People suffering from a migraine may be sensitive to light and/or sound and may also experience nausea and vomiting.

Although there is no cure for migraine headaches, there are a number of existing medications to treat the symptoms – but these are not successful for everybody.

Sports neurologist Dr Vernon Williams told Medical News Today that it’s not uncommon to see sufferers of episodic migraines have no success with existing drugs.

“Some patients respond well to a number of different preventive medications,” he says.

“Others will have side-effects or difficulty with just poor efficacy from preventive medications,” he explained.

Now, in a study presented to the American Academy of Neurology, researchers from Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron University Hospital have shown that the drug atogepant can effectively treat episodic migraines in patients who were previously drug resistant.

Migraines are classed as ‘episodic’ if they occur 14 times or less per month. If they occur more frequently than that they are referred to as ‘chronic’ migraines.

The study looked at 309 migraine sufferers who had already tried at least two different subclasses of a preventative migraine drug with poor results.

The group was split in two, with one group taking atogepant tablets daily for a 12-week period and the other taking a placebo.

The researchers found that every person in the atogepant group showed a reduction in both the intensity of their migraines and the frequency with which they experienced them.

The team reported that participants who took atogepant had an average of four fewer days of migraine per month from the start of the study to its conclusion, compared to only two fewer days in the placebo group.

They also found those who took the drug showed improvement in how often they needed to take medication to stop a migraine attack, compared to those who took the placebo.

Atogepant is part of a class of drugs known as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) therapies, which work by blocking CGRPs in the body. CGRPs can cause inflammation and pain in the nervous system of people who suffer from migraines.

At the moment, atogepant tablets are under consideration by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) but the drug is not yet approved for use.

Do you suffer from migraines? What treatments have you tried? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Migraines are underdiagnosed and undertreated in Australia

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. I have been suffering migraines for decades that evolve from weather changes. Anything from the formation of cyclones to emerging frontql lows and local density of clouds. They are particularly bad during La Nina events. The migraines come and go in the form of intense vascular pressure on my eyeballs or sinus based pressures around my eyes. Both take my ability to think and speak clearly, resulting in bouts of exhaustion.
    Very temporary relief can be found for me by intense finger massaging my eyeballs or sinus tracts.
    I have also found reasonably good help through the taking of Peridactin, a drug available on request over the counter at the chemist.

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