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In Tronvik's study, half the migraine sufferers were given Atacand for 12 weeks and later switched to a dummy pill for another 12 weeks. The other half of the migraine sufferers were first given the dummy pill and 12 weeks later switched to Atacand. The participants were unaware of the order of the medications they were receiving.
AstraZeneca, the maker of Atacand, provided the medication and funding for the study.
The researchers wanted to see if Atacand would reduce the number of days with a headache. In patients taking Atacand, about a 25% reduction in days with headaches as well as an almost 30% reduction in days with migraines was found compared with patients taking dummy pills. The researchers also found that about 40% of responders to Atacand reported a reduction in the hours that they suffered the migraine.
Some migraine sufferers must take extreme measures in diet and lifestyle to avoid triggering an attack, which can result from activities as benign as taking a hot bath, eating foods such as chocolate and citrus fruit, being exposed to loud noises, and even intense exercise.
"Many participants in our study told me that the worst thing about having migraine was the unpredictability -- it was difficult to plan ahead," says Tronvik. "A reduction in headache days would benefit in the form of increased quality of life. And in our study, the number of sick leave days lost to migraine were reduced with 64% (by those taking Atacand), which would mean a cost savings for society."