New drugs, decades in the making, are providing relief for migraines

Treatment for migraines has long addressed symptoms rather than prevention, and funding for research has been relatively low. But new treatments are giving patients more options to manage what is now considered a complex neurological disease.

Treatment for migraines has long addressed symptoms rather than prevention, and funding for research has been relatively low. But new treatments are giving patients more options to manage what is now considered a complex neurological disease. This year, FDA approved three drugs that aim to prevent migraines by targeting calcitonin gene-related peptide, the chemical involved in migraine. After years of treating migraines with medicine designed for other diseases, from blood pressure medication to antidepressants, experts say these new drugs are a significant step forward. "It is the first time we have a medication developed specifically for the mechanism of migraine, which means we are really targeting the disease state itself," said Susan Broner, medical director of the Headaches Program at Weill Cornell Medicine/New York-Presbyterian. Neurostimulation, which uses electrical stimulation to treat pain, is another option for patients that comes with the benefit of noninvasive or less invasive procedures. Although the complexity of migraines means no treatment is universal, what is important is that the condition now has a specific treatment, experts say.