A pain-relieving gel for treating migraine appears safe and effective, and may provide a new treatment option.

In a phase 2a clinical trial, 48 adults with episodic migraine with and without aura treated 5 migraines by applying the gel Topofen on the skin over the 3 branches of the trigeminal nerve in the temple area. Of those with severe migraine, 45% experienced sustained pain relief from 2 to 24 hours after treatment compared to 15% with a different pain-relieving gel with the same active ingredient, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug ketoprofen.

“The positive results of this study provide preliminary evidence that migraines can be effectively treated topically without the safety and side effect challenges that often accompany systemic oral medications,” said Crist Frangakis, PhD, president and CEO of Achelios, in a press release.

The drug works by accumulating in tissues, rather than circulating in the blood, and with the goal being prophylactic use, Dr. Frangakis said.

More testing is needed, but those involved say an additional benefit of the medication is that it could help address medication overuse headaches, which frequently occur when oral NSAIDS are taken more than 15 days per month.

National Headache Foundation
May 2015 newsletter

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