New Patch Like Migraine Procedures Help Prevent Side Effects

February 7, 2013

It was recently announced, in Medscape Medical News, that the FDA approved the use of an adult migraine skin patch containing the medication sumatriptan.  The treatment potentially benefits individuals who may experience migraines with nausea symptoms, and for whom taking medication orally is impractical or ineffective.  According to WebMed, 8 out of 10 migraineurs experience nausea symptoms.  For individuals with chronic migraines, who can’t tolerate medication due to nausea or pre-existing health conditions, migraine procedures such as neurostimulation may be a long-lasting treatment answer.

The skin patch is battery operated and gets attached to the patient’s thigh or upper arm when a migraine begins.  Over 4 hours it releases 6.5 milligrams of medication that passes directly through the skin into the blood stream without having to enter the stomach.  A migraine procedure like neurostimulation functions similarly at the onset of a migraine in that the patient controls the activation process.

In a study with 800 subjects who received the patch, the manufacturer’s research results indicate that after two hours 18 percent no longer had a headache, 53 percent experienced reduced pain and 84 percent were relieved of nausea symptoms.  According to the Medscape article, published on WebMd, the device yielded some side effects including tingling, pain, and itching at the adhesion site, in addition to some potential side effects that are normally associated with the use of triptans.

The article also cautioned that individuals with certain medical conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart disease would not be able to take this medication.  Other contraindications include situations where the migraine patient is being treated with certain anti-depressants.  For these individuals, who may have a chronic migraine condition, a migraine procedure like neurostimulation would offer a preferable alternative treatment.  Such a procedure would eliminate the possibility of drug side effects, and yet alleviate migraine headaches.  Accompanying nausea symptoms usually dissipate once the headache itself is successfully treated.

 Photo Courtesy of (c) Can Stock Photo

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