The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug aimed at preventing migraine headaches.
The drug, Aimovig, is taken by patients once a month through self-injection. The drug blocks a key molecule involved in sparking migraine attacks.
The FDA said after studying the effectiveness of Aimovig in three clinical trials, they learned most patients who used the drug experienced at least one less migraine per month.
"Aimovig provides patients with a novel option for reducing the number of days with migraine,” said Eric Bastings, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Neurology Products at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a statement. 'We need new treatments for this painful and often debilitating condition."
Migraines commonly include intense pain in one area of the head, and might also generate other symptoms such as nausea or sensitivity to light and sound.
Outside factors such as stress, lack of sleep, and diet can also contribute to the frequency of receiving migraines. The FDA said one-third of people who suffer migraines can predict the onset through an aura, "transient sensory or visual disturbances" such as flashing lights.
Nearly 1 in 4 households in the U.S. includes someone who suffers from migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.