The global migraine market is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% up to 2026, according to a report by GlobalData.

Titled ‘PharmaPoint Migraine Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2026’, the report forecasts sales across the seven major markets to reach $8.7bn by 2026.

The US is expected to have a majority share of the market at 77%, followed by Germany (5.6%) and Italy (5.2%). The main growth driver is the launch of several late-stage pipeline products, including calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Some of these drugs include Amgen’s erenumab, Eli Lilly’s galcanezumab, Teva’s fremanezumab, and Alder’s eptinezumab.

The existing migraine treatments mainly include generic drugs, although many of them have poor efficacy profiles, resulting in many of the patients being left undertreated. Furthermore, some of the drugs are contraindicated in patients who are affected by co-morbidities.

A number of unmet needs have been identified by the report due to the ineffectiveness of existing drugs, including the need for acute drugs, improvement in physician education to diagnose a migraine and development of effective prophylactic treatments.

“The need for acute drugs is being met by developing novel classes of drugs, which address the unmet needs not addressed by existing generic drugs.”

Ineffective diagnosis due to lack of physician education is the biggest unmet need in the market. The diagnosis rate of a migraine is 50% for episodic migraine and 40% for chronic migraine as physicians often misdiagnosis it with cluster or tension headaches. Rahael Maladwala, Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData, opines that a co-ordinated effort by both the governments and pharmaceutical companies is required to address this problem by providing more funding.

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The need for acute drugs is being met by developing novel classes of drugs, which address the unmet needs not addressed by existing generic drugs. Some of the novel drugs, including lasmiditan (a ditan) and ubrogepant (a gepant), target patients who are at risk of cardiovascular disorders. The report has identified these two drugs as the most promising of the eight drugs currently in the development pipeline.

Existing treatments for preventive migraine care are off-label drugs since no drugs have been developed to specifically prevent migraines. Pharmaceutical companies are therefore investing in research to develop specific and effective preventative drugs. Five drugs are in the late-stage pipeline for preventive care and expected to be approved by 2026.

Four of these drugs are CGRP mAbs and have demonstrated superior efficacy and safety profiles compared to existing drugs. These will drive the market growth and generate combined sales of $4bn by 2026, Maladwala adds.