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New Migraine Drug Shows Promise
Date:11/24/2008

Telcagepant works differently than standard triptans, researchers say

MONDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A drug called telcagepant proved safe and effective in treating migraines and caused fewer side effects than the widely-used migraine drug zolmitriptan (Zomig), according to a study conducted by drug maker Merck & Co.

Zolmitriptan and other triptans are effective but can cause a number of side effects, including dizziness, tingling and numbness of the skin, chest discomfort, and throat tightness. In addition, triptans cause blood vessel narrowing and aren't recommended for patients with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and certain migraine subtypes, according to a news release about the study.

Telcagepant is from a different class, called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists. It's believed that brain concentrations of CGRP are elevated during a migraine. CGRP antagonists don't seem to have blood vessel narrowing properties and, therefore, may not carry the same cardiovascular-related risks as triptans.

This phase III study included 1,380 patients at 81 sites in Europe and the United States. The patients, who suffered from moderate or severe migraines, received either 150 milligrams or 300 milligrams of telcagepant, 5 milligrams zolmitriptan, or a placebo.

The 300-milligram dose of telcagepant was more effective than placebo for freedom from pain (27 percent of patients vs. 10 percent), pain relief (55 percent vs. 28 percent), absences of noise sensitivity (58 percent vs. 37 percent) and light sensitivity (51 percent vs. 29 percent), and nausea (65 percent vs. 55 percent), according to the study.

Telcagepant 300 milligram and zolmitriptan 5 milligram were similarly effective in treating migraines, and both were more effective than telcagepant 150 milligram. Negative side effects were reported by 31 percent of patients taking telcagepant 150 milligram, 32 percent t
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