Merck migraine drug shows promise; GSK migraine treatment triggers patient’s ‘green blood’

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Merck’s experimental medication MK-0974 showed promising results in migraine patients who weren’t helped by standard treatments, according to the findings of a Merck–funded Phase II study.


In new research, 68% of those who took a 300 mg. dose of MK-0974 reported pain relief two hours later. The rate was almost identical to the 70% of people who took a triptan, a treatment that relieves swelling in the brain. However certain patients, especially those with heart conditions -- can’t take triptans because they constrict blood vessels.


MK-0974 is part of a new class of drugs know as calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists. These agents are designed to block a brain chemical that helps send pain signals.


Researchers were scheduled to release the findings June 7 at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society in Chicago.


Meanwhile, doctor’s believe GlaxoSmithKline’s Imitrex may have played a role in causing a surgical patient’s blood to turn dark green, The Lancet reports.

The patient’s leg surgery went ahead successfully and his blood returned to normal once he lowered his dose of the drug.


The patient had been taking large doses of Glaxo’s Imitrex - 200 milligrams a day.

Doing so may have caused the rare condition sulfhaemoglobinaemia, where sulphur is incorporated into the oxygen-carrying compound haemoglobin in red blood cells.  

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