A new study has found that long-term usage of prophylactic medications to treat migraine results in a poor outcome. Published recently in Cephalgia, the researchers looked at medical claims filed by migraines sufferers using migraine medication persistently to analyse the adverse events that followed.
The medications used by the migraine sufferers were split as follows:
- 59.9% of patients received triptans
- 66.6% received nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- 77.4% received opioids
- 2.6% received ergotamines
The retrospective study into migraine medication found that almost 30% of these patients suffered from adverse effects linked to gastrointestinal upset. The researchers concluded that new treatment options for migraine with improved efficacy and tolerance were needed.
Prophylactic migraine medications are intended to prevent attacks rather than relieve symptoms. There are a number of prophylactic migraine medications available and in recent years their usage has fallen, often due to the side effects that also occur.
Triptans: these are a specific painkiller for migraines and are thought to prevent migraines by contracting the blood vessels around the brain which widen when experiencing migraines. They are available as tablets, injections or nasal sprays, and side effects are usually mild but include a tingling or flushing sensation and some patients can experience nausea, dry mouth or drowsiness. They can also cause overuse medication headaches.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): both over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs have been the mainstay treatment for acute migraines for many years. Compared to triptans, they have a much lower potential for medication overuse or rebound headaches. However, nearly all NSAIDs can irritate the lining of the intestine and stomach and can be problematic for those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders.
Opioids: these are naturally-occurring or synthetic derivatives of opium and they are often used to treat acute migraines of moderate to severe intensity. However, they are only recommended for short-term or intermittent use as they can all result in dependence issues and extended use can lead to tolerance where ever-increasing dosages are required to create the same effect.
Ergotamines: this is a prescription drug that constricts the blood vessels in the brain, reducing the pain of a migraine headache. However, it has persistent side effects and is often less effective in reducing migraines. Side effects include irregular heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, swelling and itching and high blood pressure.
Chronic migraine sufferers in the UK have the option of Botox for migraine relief from the NHS if they have explored three types of prophylactic medications with no alleviation of symptoms.
If you are interested in learning more about the Botox for migraine relief training courses, call 0790 0583 898 to find out more. Youth Doctors offers the only Botox for migraine course in the UK and Europe.