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U.S. Approves First Injection Drug For Chronic Migraines, Costs $6,900 Per Year

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new drug aims to specifically eliminate chronic migraines but it will cost nearly $7,000 to use each year.

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About 10 million Americans get migraine headaches frequently, as they're most common in people in their 30s, mostly women, and can last for several hours or even days.

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Now, they'll have a new treatment option -- a first-of-its-kind drug designed to prevent migraines.

"It's significant because we've never had any preventatives specifically designed for patients who have migraines," Dr. Zubair Ahmed of the Cleveland Clinic said.

Until now, drugs used to prevent migraines were designed to treat other diseases, they are not very effective and often cause serious side effects.

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"We've always used medicines for seizures or for blood pressure or antidepressants to help treat migraine at least as preventatives go," Dr. Ahmed said.

The new FDA-approved approved drug is called a CGRP blocker and it will be available as a once monthly self-injection. It essentially tells the brain to turn off a migraine by blocking a molecule that causes headaches.

"There is hope on the horizon. Were very optimistic, but were also cautiously optimistic," Dr. Ahmed said.

Research shows that people with hard-to-treat migraines who took the new drug reported fewer headaches, with many patients achieving at least a 50 percent reduction.

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Reported side effects of short-term use include injection site irritation and constipation. The drug will cost $6,900 per year without insurance.

Three other shots are expected to win approval by next year, and several pills for preventing migraines are also being tested.

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