FDA approves drug to prevent migraines

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new medication on Thursday designed to prevent migraines.

The drug, called Aimovig, produced by pharmaceutical giants Amgen and Novartis, is intended to be administered through a monthly injection, and would cost patients $6,900 annually, Amgen said.

The drug blocks a protein fragment called CGRP, which is believed to play a critical role in migraines, the company said.

Amgen said that it expects to make the drug available to patients in the U.S. within a week.

Aimovig is the first drug designed to treat the severe headaches experienced by millions of Americans. Trials of the medication showed many patients experiencing at least a 50 percent reduction in the number of days they experienced a migraine.

The condition can be debilitating for those who suffer from it. It not only causes severe headaches, but is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and aversion to light, and can last for days.

“The FDA approval of Aimovig represents a long-awaited and important therapeutic development for patients and their physicians who are in need of additional treatment options for the prevention of migraine,” Sean Harper, Amgen’s executive vice president of Research and Development, said in a statement.