Aimovig has the "potential to help fill treatment gaps in more hard patient populations whose migraine has not been adequately managed with current therapies", Sean Harper, executive vice president of research and development at Amgen, said in a statement. He said previous studies excluded patients who had tried more than two other treatments.
Overall response rates were low, with roughly 30% of erenumab-treated patients having at least a 50% reduction in migraine frequency.
All had previously been given medications, which had failed to provide relief.
Migraines are notoriously misunderstood, and as a result, hard to treat.
Those who have episodic migraine can have up to 14 headache days each month. For those with a migraine, sounds can cause physical pain. Thirty-nine percent of those volunteers had been treated unsuccessfully with two other medications, 38 percent had been treated unsuccessfully with three other medications and 23 percent had been treated unsuccessfully with four other medications. Based on these guidelines, the almost one-third of volunteers who found relief with erenumab is substantial. "There was a cardiovascular death in a 52-year-old male participant in an interim analysis of a long-term open-label extension study of erenumab". Results revealed none of the volunteers needed to stop taking the drug during the course of the trial due to adverse side effects. For those on erenumab, there was an average 1.6 times greater reduction in migraine days and a 1.7 times greater reduction in acute medication days compared to those on placebo.
Blockbuster ambitions: Amgen/Novartis team lines up more promising PhIII erenumab data for some of the toughest migraine patients
"Our results show that people who thought their migraines were hard to prevent may actually have hope of finding pain relief", said Reuter. "More research is now needed to understand who is most likely to benefit from this new treatment".
Limitations of the analysis, the researchers said, include its short time frame of 3 months.
The study was supported by Novartis Pharma AG.
The phase IIIb LIBERTY results add to previous episodic migraine prevention trials of erenumab like STRIVE and ARISE that were presented at last year's AAN meeting. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.