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.

In Other News...

Kentucky College Coach Program Added at CCHS

CALLOWAY COUNTY, Ky. (9/21/14) — Calloway County High School has recently welcomed Bryan Warner as a Kentucky College… Read More

Local NAMI Chapter Pleased with Recent Recognition of State Official

MURRAY, Ky. (9/20/14) — Kentucky First District U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, a co-sponsor of HB 3717, the Helping Families… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 19, 2014 4165

Madisonville Man Among Three Arrested for…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
September 17, 2014 3641

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 3312

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 18, 2014 2696

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in News by Karen McKnight
September 20, 2014 2683

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 17, 2014 3312

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 19, 2014 2595

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols
September 17, 2014 2039

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Top Stories by Kyle Pharris
September 18, 2014 1820

Manitou Man Charged with DUI

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 18, 2014 1716

Vehicle Strikes CSX Train Cars at Crossing

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 20, 2014 778

Man Charged with Theft After KSP…

in Top Stories by Alexis McGee
September 19, 2014 744

STREET CLOSINGS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton
September 19, 2014 742

Police Searching for Hit-And-Run Driver

in Top Stories by Jennifer Smith, DCSO
September 18, 2014 607

Owensboro's Nathan Morris Has Worldwide…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 18, 2014 439

9-1-1 Phone Lines

in Top Stories by Michael Hathaway

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 17, 2014 3641

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 20, 2014 2683

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 1702

Muhlenberg Job Corps Support is 'Written…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
September 20, 2014 1149

Paradise NRA Banquet Promises Food, Fun,…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


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

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06