Commenting on the findings, Kathleen B. Digre, MD, chief of the division of headache and neuro-ophthalmology at the University of Utah Health, Salt Lake City, expressed enthusiasm for the experimental drug. “I’m excited to see another treatment modality for migraine,” said Dr. Digre, who was not involved with the research. “It was a very well-conducted study,” she added.
The treatment arms were almost identical in regard to disease severity, and all the doses showed an effect. Although the difference in reduction of monthly migraine days in comparison with placebo was numerically small, “for people who have frequent migraine, it’s important,” Dr. Digre said.
The results for atogepant should be viewed in a larger context, however. “Even though it’s a treatment that works better than placebo for well-matched controls, it may not be a medication that everybody’s going to respond to,” she noted. “And we can’t generalize it for some of the most disabled people, which is for chronic migraine,” she said.
It is significant that the study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Digre noted. “Sometimes migraine is dismissed as not important and not affecting people’s lives,” she said. “That makes me very happy to see migraine being taken seriously by our major journals.”
In addition, she noted that the prospects for FDA approval of atogepant seem favorable. “I’m hopeful that they will approve it, because it’s got a low side-effect profile, plus it’s effective.”
Migraine-specific preventive therapy has emerged only in the past few years. “I’m so excited to see this surge of preventive medicine for migraine,” Dr. Digre said. “It’s so important, because we see so many people who are disabled by migraine,” she added.
The study was funded by Allergan before atogepant was acquired by AbbVie. Dr. Ailani has received honoraria from AbbVie for consulting, has received compensation from Allergan and AbbVie for participating in a speakers’ bureau, and has received clinical trial grants from Allergan. Dr. Digre has reported no relevant financial relationships.
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