Migraine Pain Is Treatable

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Relief for Migraines

For more than a decade, however, migraine sufferers have had another option: medications called triptans. Today there are seven different brands of triptans, but they all work by stopping the release of the chemical that leads to inflammation of blood vessels in the brain -- the root cause of migraine pain. Despite the availability of triptans, current estimates suggest that nearly 60 percent of migraine sufferers continue to self-medicate with over-the-counter pain relievers.

In a recent study of 110 migraine sufferers who were not helped by Excedrin-Migraine, Dr. Diamond and her colleagues found that 81 percent experienced significant headache relief (mild or no pain) two hours after taking eletriptan (Relpax), and 91 percent at four hours. They also experienced significant relief of migraine-associated symptoms at two hours, including nausea (76 percent), sensitivity to light (74 percent), and sensitivity to sound (80 percent). The study was published this March in the journal Headache and supported by a grant from Pfizer, the manufacturer of Relpax.

"The most important piece of information coming out of this study is that when over-the-counter medication does not work, there is something people can get that does work," Dr. Diamond says. "My concern is that there are so many people who keep using OTC remedies and failing. And the longer that migraine is poorly managed, the more headaches they are likely to get."

Continued on page 3:  Identifying Migraines


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