Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Putting a Patch on Migraines

fda headache 300KENTUCKY (3/23/13) – If you're one of the more than 30 million Americans who suffer from migraines, you know that calling them "just another headache" is like calling a hurricane "just another storm."
 
Fortunately, says neurologist Eric Bastings, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Neurology at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are practical measures you can take to prevent painful migraines and FDA-approved medications to either stave off their onset or relieve their pain. There are two basic kinds of medications for migraine: abortive medications (also called acute medications) that treat migraines after they begin, and preventive medications that help keep migraines from developing in the first place.
 
In January 2013, FDA approved an acute medication that uses a widely-prescribed drug for treating migraines (sumatriptan, name brand Imitrex), but delivers the drug through a new mechanism — a transdermal system in the form of a patch that can be wrapped around a patient's upper arm or thigh. (Transdermal drug delivery is absorption through the skin.)
 
"Although consumers are familiar with using a patch for, say, smoking cessation, this is the first patch FDA has approved to treat migraines," says Bastings.
 
How the Patch Works
 
Named Zecuity, the battery-powered patch is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company NuPathe. About 8 inches long and 4 inches wide, it wraps around the arm or thigh much like an ace bandage. According to Bastings, it uses an electrical current to move the drug through the skin over the course of four hours. A small battery and computer chip regulate the charge to make sure the patient gets the right dosage.
 
The patch provides an alternative to pills, nasal sprays and injections. "Many migraine sufferers experience debilitating pain — sometimes so acute that they can't swallow a pill," says Bastings.
 
He adds that some people don't like the unpleasant taste the nasal spray can leave behind, and others are uncomfortable with injecting themselves.
 
That said, the patch does have some drawbacks, notes Bastings. For one thing, it's large enough that it can show when worn under short-sleeved shirts or shorts, and requires some privacy (and at times, the need to undress) to put it on. "For many people, popping a pill is a lot more immediate and simple," Bastings says.
 
And the patch is not without side effects: about 25 percent of subjects in the clinical study complained of a painful sensation at the patch application site. Others didn't like the reddening that most patients developed at the application site after using the patch.
 
What Causes a Migraine?
 
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 12 percent of the U.S. population experience migraines. Migraines affect both children and adults, but affect adult women three times more often than men.
 
Bastings explains that migraines are neurovascular headaches. They are characterized by throbbing and pulsating pain caused by the a temporary widening of blood vessels in the brain, triggered by abnormal activation of nerve pathways involved in the transmission of pain signals.
 
Characteristics of a migraine frequently include:
 
 Pain typically on one side of the head
 Pain that has a pulsating or throbbing quality
 Moderate to intense pain that affects daily activities
 Nausea or vomiting
 Sensitivity to light or sound
 Aura, visual disturbances that signal the beginning, such as dots, flashing lights or blind spots
 
Bastings also says that a number of studies show that migraines are underdiagnosed by patient and physician, alike. "Many people don't recognize the symptoms as belonging to migraine," he says. Or they don't think of sharing information about the occasional headache with their physician, even if it is severe.
 
FDA-Approved Drugs
 
FDA has approved a number of drugs for treating acute migraine, including the triptans (such as Imitrex), which bind to serotonin receptors in the brain nerve fibers and blood vessels. (Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another.) There are also non-prescription drugs available "over the counter," such as ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen.
 
"These abortive medications work most effectively if taken early in the attack," Bastings notes.
 
Many people who experience frequent or severe migraines may use preventive medications, including beta-blockers, a type of blood pressure drug, such as metoprolol. Certain antiepileptic drugs are also prescribed, such as topiramate and divalproex sodium.
 
In October 2010, FDA also approved Botulinum toxin (known as Botox) for use in treating patients who suffer chronic migraines at least 15 days a month.
 
Another way to prevent migraines is to learn your personal "triggers" for the headache, Bastings says. Common ones include hormonal changes in women, with migraines frequently occurring around the menstrual cycle; certain foods and beverages, such as alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, chocolate and aged cheeses; stress; and changes in waking and sleeping patterns.
 
"It certainly can help to know your triggers and avoid them when possible," Bastings says. "Of course if a major trigger is stress, few of us can entirely avoid that in our lives."
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by the Food and Drug Administration
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14

SurfKY TV

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Stock Report

1 DOW 16,723.18
+261.86 (1.59%)    
2 S&P 1,959.52
+32.41 (1.68%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,470.12
+87.27 (1.99%)    
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

October 17, 2014 12347

UK Women's Soccer Welcomes Ole Miss, No. 5/4…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 20, 2014 6248

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 17, 2014 4274

Single Vehicle Collision Results in One Injury

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
October 19, 2014 4139

Kentucky Energy Department Releases Virtual Solar…

in General News For All Sites by Dick Brown
October 21, 2014 3282

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 18, 2014 3089

Muhlenberg County Celebrates New Farmer’s Market

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 17, 2014 3048

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 17, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2844

Woman Arrested at Taco Bell for DUI

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 2760

Man Charged for Assaulting Pregnant Wife

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2441

Anti-Bullying Task Force to Hold First Meeting

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor

Stories Trending Today

October 22, 2014 2043

Failure to Signal Ends in Drug Arrest

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 22, 2014 1924

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Hopkins News by Karen McKnight
October 22, 2014 1620

Convicted Felon Charged for Handgun Possession…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 22, 2014 1384

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 22, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 22, 2014 1168

The Sanctuary Opens Muhlenberg County Branch

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 22, 2014 1069

Four Road Projects Awarded in Muhlenberg County

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Rebecca Hanchett
October 22, 2014 1045

UK Soccer's Justin Laird Named National Player of…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 22, 2014 992

Lake Malone Halloween Bash Set for This Weekend

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 22, 2014 905

SurfKY Spotlight: Lynelle S. Eaves Realty

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
October 22, 2014 894

Baptist Health Paducah Weight Loss Info Session…

in Local (Paducah) Top News by Angie Kinsey Timmons

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss