When researchers developed the newest class of migraine medications, which target the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), there was tremendous hope for their potential. There was so much hope that four of the world’s largest drug companies were developing the drugs simultaneously. They each hoped to beat the other to market. They saw it as a lucrative opportunity. Migraine sufferers had hopes, too. Migraineurs suffer tremendous pain and disability, but they have few options for successful treatment of their condition. 

Now that some of the drugs have hit the market, though, we realize that the new drugs are like others. A new study shows they can help some sufferers, but not most. 

Since there is still no miracle drug for migraines, sufferers should consider drug-free migraine treatment, especially if they also suffer TMJ symptoms. 

woman in large yellow sweater rubs her head due to a headache

Moderate Benefits for Some Migraineurs

The new study, published last week in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, looked at the results of the Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Erenumab in Migraine Prevention (STRIVE). STRIVE randomized nearly 1000 episodic migraine sufferers to receive a placebo or one of two doses of the migraine medication erenumab (70 or 140 mg). Then it looked at how many experienced 50%, 75%, or 100% migraine reduction at three to six months. 

Almost no migraineurs were migraine-free after three months on the medication. Only 3.2% of patients on the lower dose achieved this level of reduction, compared to 5% on the higher dose, and 2.8% on placebo. 

However, significant amounts of people saw lower levels of migraine reduction. A full 50% of people on the higher dose saw a 50% reduction in migraine days, compared to 43.3% for the lower dose, and 26.6% on placebo. And 22.0% of those on the higher dose saw a 75% reduction in migraine days, compared to 20.8% for the lower dose and 7.9% for placebo. 

So while we have to temper our expectations for these drugs, there is still a significant portion of the population that could benefit from them. 

However, 19.2% of people on the lower dose and 16.7% of those on the higher dose saw no improvement in their migraines. 

Drug-Free Migraine Treatment Is an Alternative

While we had hoped that this new class of migraine drugs would give amazing results, the studies show that benefits are more limited. While most people will receive some degree of benefit, these drugs don’t help everyone. 

So what do you do if these and other migraine drugs aren’t helping you? Consider drug-free treatment. About a third of people with migraine also suffer from temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD), and for these people treating TMJ also leads to migraine relief. 

Best of all, TMJ treatment can be done using drug-free, nonsurgical approaches. This helps you avoid drug side effects, ongoing drug costs, and surgical risks. 

Are You Looking for Migraine Relief in Kanata? 

If you are suffering from migraines and either doesn’t benefit from medications or would like a drug-free treatment option, TMJ dentist Dr. Andrea Stevens can help. From her office in Kanata, she has helped people from around the Ottawa area find headache relief. 

Please call 613.271.7091 today for an appointment.