Better Migraine Treatment

Posted by Admin on April 3, 2007

If your migraine treatment isn’t providing the benefit you had hoped, new research shows an easy way to boost its effectiveness. This latest study in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked specifically at the group of medicines called triptans, and focused on perhaps the best known, imitrex.

It found patients could get more relief by adding to imitrex a common over the counter medicine. Four years ago, Amy Lapa- Stochel started to get a migraine more frequently than every other day. She uses several medicines, including imitrex. Amy says, “In the past when I just took the imitrex alone the headache would just rebound; your headache would go away for a little bit and then come back.”

Many patients like Amy don’t get adequate relief. There are several potential reasons. Dr. Larry Newman, Director of the Headache Institute at Roosevelt Hospital Center, says, “Part of the reason may be on the wrong dose, another reason they are on the correct dose but take the medication too late during the attack and another reason is that the drugs as good as they are they don’t address all of the features of migraine.”

The medicines called triptans are widely used, and very effective when taken shortly after the onset of migraine or migraine warning signs. But now, the latest research found by adding the antiinflammatory naproxen to imitrex, patients got more relief than when using imitrex alone.

Dr. Newman says, “What we know with migraine is that it is a disorder of the nerve, it is a disorder of the blood vessel but there is also inflammation associated with the headache and the triptans work on the blood vessel and they work on the nerve but the medications we have currently don’t address the inflammation.”

 In the study, patients either got a single tablet containing both imitrex and naproxen, 500 milligrams, or got only imitrex or only naproxen, or a placebo with nothing in it. The combination pill containing both medicines did better at relieving headache at two hours, relieveing senstiivty to light and loud sounds, and relief of nausea was better. The combo pill also did better at sustaining the pain relief through the twenty four hour period after the begninning of the migraine.

 “You get the initial relief of the headache from the sumatriptan right away and then the naproxen is pushed forward in time so it last twenty four hours later, so we get the initial relief of the headache and then the naproxen lasting longer prevents the headache from coming back later,” states Dr. Newman. Amy says, “Once I take it is gone, when I take that combination, I don’t see another headache maybe for another week, which is good.”


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