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New Migraine Drug Promising

May Help Patients Who Don’t Respond to Triptans

Study Details

Ho and his team studied the safety and effectiveness of MK-0974 in 420 migraine patients, mostly women, whose average age was 41. Women are more likely than men to suffer from migraines. The participants typically had one to six migraines every month. The participants were given either the new drug (MK-0974), a commonly used triptan called Maxalt, or a placebo pill.

Participants were told to take the medication one time only, when they developed moderate to severe migraine pain. They were also asked to keep a diary, noting a timeline of how their symptoms and pain were affected after taking their medication. Various doses of the new medication were tried, from 25 milligrams to 600 milligrams. "We found the 300 or 600 milligrams of MK-0974 was effective at stopping the headache at two hours," Ho says.

Overall, about two-thirds of those who took MK-0974 or who took Maxalt for migraine pain relief reported a reduction in pain at two hours.

However, nearly 50% of patients taking MK-0974 at the 300-milligram dose reported being pain-free at two hours, compared with only 33% of those who took Maxalt and 14% of those who took a placebo.

The study also showed that nearly 40% of those who took the new drug were still pain-free at 24 hours, but Ho's team says only about 20% of Maxalt users were.

Second Opinions

"I'm enthused," says Seymour Diamond, MD, a headache specialist and founder of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, when told of the new study findings.

If approved, the new medication may eventually prove beneficial for patients who don’t respond to the triptans as well as those who can't take them, he says. "Not every [migraine] drug is for everybody."

  • Tried everything to calm your migraines? Get support and feedback from Indie Cooper-Guzman, RN, on our Migraines message board.
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