The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Aimovig as the first calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP) blocker for the preventive treatment of migraine. Aimovig is a self-administered injector that is used once monthly to prevent migraine attacks in people who have migraine. The list price is $6,900 a year, which is substantially lower than anticipated pricing.1 For the millions of patients living with excruciating and debilitating migraine, the approval of Aimovig is an important therapeutic development offering new hope for relief from their unbearable symptoms.
How does Aimovig work?
CGRP is a newly identified protein that acts like a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger) throughout the brain and body. CGRP is found in large numbers in the trigeminal system, the sensory nerves that supply the head and neck. CGRP is found in high levels during a migraine attack.
Aimovig is a monoclonal antibody that targets and neutralizes the CGRP receptors. By not allowing CGRP to connect with its receptors, it is believed that Aimovig helps stop migraine that were instigated by CGRP.1,2
How effective is Aimovig?
In clinical trials, patients receiving Aimovig experienced significant reductions in the number of migraine days per month, as well as a reduction in their use of acute treatment of migraine, compared to patients receiving placebo. In one of the latest studies, Aimovig was given to patients who have already tried 2-4 prior treatments without getting relief. Aimovig had nearly three-fold higher odds of cutting their migraine days by 50% or more compared to placebo.1
Why is this important?
Migraine is a debilitating condition, and many people with migraine do not get relief from their symptoms with the currently available therapies. These are often drugs that were originally used for other conditions like high blood pressure or epilepsy. In addition, many of the currently available treatments have significant side effects that make them unsuitable options for certain people. Aimovig offers a new treatment option for people living with migraine, and it is the first medication of its kind. Additional CGRP blockers are in development and are expected to get approval within the next year or so.
What are the possible side effects of Aimovig?
The most common side effects experienced by patients receiving Aimovig in clinical trials were injection site reactions (pain, redness) and constipation.1
FDA Approves Aimovig (erenumab-aooe), a Novel Treatment Developed Specifically for Migraine Prevention. Amgen press release. Available at https://www.amgen.com/media/news-releases/2018/05/fda-approves-aimovig-erenumabaooe-a-novel-treatment-developed-specifically-for-migraine-prevention/. Accessed 5/17/18.
New Drug Offers Hope to Millions With Severe Migraines. New York Times. Available at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/health/migraines-prevention-drug-aimovig.html. Accessed 5/17/18.