MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— It’s estimated more than 38 million Americans suffer from migraine. The pain can be so debilitating it can put a patient down for days. Now a new type of migraine medication is giving hope to those who have dealt with the pain for years.
Patient Cherise Irons exclaimed to Ivanhoe, “I’ve been attack- free for 259 days!”
Cherise Irons is counting the days she hasn’t dealt with a crippling migraine.
“The pressure starts in my neck area and it’s just building and building,” Irons illustrated.
The intense pain started 10 years ago after a bad car accident, even causing her to black out.
Irons recalled, “I black out, I wake up and I’m like where am I?”
Teshamae Monteith, MD, Chief of the Headache Division and associate professor of Clinical Neurology at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine explained, “Migraine is a primary headache disorder; it’s a recurring condition so it’s chronic.”
For patients like Cherise, very few treatments gave her any relief, until now.
“For the first time ever there’s migraine specific treatments for migraine prevention. We’re talking about a way to target migraine based on the pathophysiology,” elaborated Dr. Monteith.
A new class of drugs called CGRP monoclonal antibodies work by blocking the signaling pathway that causes migraine.
“So, if you’re able to block that either by targeting the protein itself or the receptor then you can potentially prevent migraine,” Dr. Monteith explained.
Cherise takes fremanezumab, brand name AJOVY, a once a month injection she gives herself.
“The goal is to have less painful migraine attacks, less frequent migraine attacks,” concluded Dr. Monteith.
Cherise says the new migraine medication has been a game changer!
“I got my life back!” Irons exclaimed.
She is now studying to become a minister and started a walking group at her church.
She shared, “It’s called In Motion, On Purpose.”
She credits her faith for getting her through.
The new class of migraine drugs was approved by the FDA in 2018 and most insurance companies will cover the cost. Dr. Monteith says the only side effects reported so far are injection site reaction such as redness or swelling. For more information go to https://umiamihealth.org/en/Treatments-Services/Neurology/Migraine. For more on Cherise’s spiritual journey you can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ironsgroupllc/.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: MITIGATING MIGRAINE: NEW MEDICATION IS A GAME CHANGER!
REPORT: MB #4766
BACKGROUND: A migraine is a primary headache disorder causing severe throbbing or pulsing pain, typically on one side of the head, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound. Some people experience warning symptoms called auras which can include visual disturbances such as flashes and blind spots, auditory disturbances like hearing noises or music, tingling in the face or extremities, and difficulty speaking. Migraines can begin to appear in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. Patients should seek out a doctor if they start to experience new extreme headaches after the age of fifty. Migraines can also have four stages, prodrome, which usually occurs a few days before migreaine onset and can include symptoms like constipation, mood changes, increased thirst, urination or food cravings, and frequent yawning. The next stage is aura, which, for some people who experience them, usually occurs during mirgrane and causes visual and auditory phenomenons. Next is attack, this is the main strike of a migraine and can last anywhere from four to 72 hours if untreated and usually includes pain, sensitivity and nausea. Last is post-drome, which follows a migraine attack and can leave patients feelin drained, confused, and washed out for up to a full day. However, not every patient that experiences migraines will experience all four stages.
DIAGNOSING: The exact causes of migraines are unknown, but researches are thinking that it might be due to abnormal changes in the brain’s chemicals. This can cause inflammation and swollen blood vessels that could explain the pain. Patients that are known to experience migraines can have attacks triggered by external factors. Things like sleep abnormalities skipped meals, menstrual hormones, weather changes, alcohol, caffeine, and foods that contain certain preservatives or sugars like nitrates, monosodium glutamate, tyramine, and aspartame. Doctors suggest keeping track of headaches so that patients can better identify their triggers and avoid them. Migraines can be chronic and debilitating and cause school, work, and socialization loss in addition to pain. Migraines often affect more women than men worldwide and can last anywhere from four hours to three weeks at a time.
(Source: Teshamae Monteith, MD https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/migraine )
NEW TECHNOLOGY: In 2018 three drugs were approved by the FDA that treat migraines by targeting and blocking the calcitonin gene-related peptide pathway, or CGRP pathway. CGRP is a protein that is released in the brain and can cause inflammation of the meninges that line the skull. Blocking this protein with monoclonal antibodies is the pathophysiological basis for these new drug treatments. The first of three treatments are done by patient self-injection with a subcutaneous auto-injector, similar to that of an EpiPen. With the last being performed by intravenous infusion, or an IV, at the doctor’s office. The drug is extremely tolerable and most patients only reported side-effect is injection site irritation or pain. However, this pain is usually not a reason for patients to stop, as the migraine pain is far worse. Chronic migraine patients have reported going from fifteen plus headaches a month to about six. Dr. Monteith says its biggest strengths are that “it has long term cumulative or persistent benefits.”
(Source: Teshamae Monteith, MD https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/what-to-know-about-the-new-anti-cgrp-migraine-treatment-options/ )
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
KAI HILL, PR
UM MILLER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
If this story about migraine medication or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org