Taking the Pain Out of Migraine Treatment
Treating Migraines as They Come May Lead to Medication Overuse
WebMD News Archive
Medication Overuse and Migraines continued...
Preventive therapy involves taking medication daily to prevent
migraines vs. using drugs only occasionally to treat attacks.
"The goals of prevention are to reduce the frequency,
severity, and duration of attacks," says Silberstein. "The other thing
we believe is that it improves the responsiveness to acute treatments."
Silberstein says research also shows that preventive therapy
actually reduces overall medication and health-care costs in addition to
lowering the risk of medication overuse.
For example, a recent study showed that preventive therapy
dramatically reduced acute medication use, doctor's office and emergency room
visits, and the use of CT (computerized tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance
New Migraine Treatments on the Horizon
Silberstein adds that two new drugs under study may offer
migraine sufferers new treatment options.
The first of these drugs, Topamax, has traditionally been used
in the treatment of epileptic seizures and is now under consideration by the
FDA for treatment of migraine. In a recent study, half of the people treated
with Topamax experienced a 50% reduction in the frequency of their migraines,
27% had a 75%-90% reduction, and 6% saw their migraines completely
Side effects were reported among about 5% of patients who used
Topamax and included anxiety, fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, memory problems,
Another drug being studied for the treatment of migraine is
Botox (botulinum toxin type A), a drug best known for its wrinkle-reducing
effects. The drug was originally developed to treat muscle disorders, but
recent research has shown that it also works on the sensory nerves and areas of
the brain involved in migraine, blocking the pain involved in migraine
Experts say the treatment of migraine has changed drastically
in the last decade, and people who aren't getting the relief they need from
their current therapy should talk to their doctor about alternatives.