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    A new drug that promises to cut in half the length of attacks for migraine sufferers was announced recently. Migraine that causes a throbbing headache, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances affects nearly 8.5 million people in Britain.

    Erenumab, a laboratory-made antibody that blocks CGRP, a molecule involved in the transmission of pain, is the first drug in 20 years shown to counter migraines, which can last 72 hours. The phase 3 trial data for erenumab, collected from nearly 1,000 patients, showed that the drug typically cut out between three and four “migraine days” per month. Migraine duration was reduced by at least 50 per cent in half the patients. The trial compared patients taking erenumab for six months with others given a placebo.

    Peter Goadsby, from King’s College Hospital in London, who led the research, said the findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, clearly showed that blocking the CGRP pathway could reduce the impact of migraines. “The results represent a real transition for migraine patients from poorly understood, re-purposed treatments, to a specific migraine-designed therapy,” he said.

    Simon Evans, from the charity Migraine Action, said: “Migraine is too often trivialised as just a headache when it can be a debilitating, chronic condition that can destroy lives. “The effects can last for hours, even days . . . an option that can prevent migraine and that is well tolerated is therefore sorely needed.”

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