DALLAS, TX (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than 36 million Americans suffer from migraines, while more than 11 million blame migraines for causing moderate to severe disability. But now, there’s hope, a breakthrough medication that shows great promise in preventing migraines, or making them less severe.
Seventy-one-year-old Karen Muzzy has suffered severe migraines for 50 years. She takes a wide assortment of daily and rescue medications to deal with them.
“I take a beta-blocker, I take two seizure drugs, and I take an anti-depressant,” said Karen.
When migraines are especially bad, she can inject herself with a muscle relaxer, some Benadryl, or take a steroid, plus nausea medicine. The medications make her feel drowsy. She hopes to replace most of these drugs with just one, administered once a month in a pen-like device.
Karen said, “Some day this will be my single medication as opposed to having all these on hand.”
This drug, aimovig, and two others recently approved by the FDA are called CGRP monoclonal antibodies. They block the pathology that causes migraines. It is helping to reduce Karen’s severe migraines from 16 to four per month.
Priyanka Chaudhry, MD, Fellowship Program Director-Headache Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, Baylor Neuroscience Center-Headache Center from Baylor Scott & White Health said, “We have not had a migraines specific drug in several years, so definitely this is like the most exciting phase in the headache world right now.”
Dr. Chaudhry has been treating Karen for years, even getting her to keep a headache diary.
“I think she definitely feels her quality of life has tremendously improved after starting this new medication.” said Chaudhry.
For Karen and her husband, life has changed dramatically for the better. She doesn’t feel the side effects of so many drugs.
“I think she’s enjoying life a lot more,” said Mike Muzzy, Karen’s husband.
The only challenge for patients may be the cost. One monthly dose costs $575. An appeal to Medicare cut the price for Karen in half. She and her husband say the relief is worth the high price.
Contributors to this news report include: Don Wall, Field Producer; Mark Montgomery, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Dave Harrison, Editor.
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TOPIC: ONCE A MONTH MIGRAINE TREATMENT
REPORT: MB #4496
BACKGROUND: A migraine is a neurological condition frequently characterized by intense, debilitating headaches. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness, tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can begin in childhood or may not occur until early adulthood. Women are more likely than men to have migraines. Family history is one of the most common risk factors for having migraines. Prevention is often the best treatment for migraine headaches. Preventative methods may include eliminating foods and substances that trigger headaches, like alcohol and caffeine, taking prescription medications such as antidepressants or antiepileptic medications, and taking steps to reduce threats. Those who have migraines less frequently may benefit from taking medications known to reduce migraines quickly, such as anti-nausea medicines and mild to moderate pain relievers. However, if a person takes migraine headache medication more than 10 days a month, it could cause an effect known as rebound headaches which worsens the symptoms.
MIGRAINES VS. HEADACHES: Differentiating between a migraine and a typical headache can mean faster relief through better treatments and possibly prevention of future headaches. Typical headaches are unpleasant pains in the head that can cause pressure and aching, usually on both sides of the head. They may be felt in the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. It can last half an hour to an entire week. Triggers include stress, muscle strain, and anxiety. A migraine headache often includes nausea, pain behind one eye or ear, pain in the temples, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light and/or sound, temporary vision loss, and vomiting. Migraines will typically only affect one side of the head. Migraine pain may be throbbing and will make performing daily tasks very difficult. Migraine triggers include emotional anxiety, contraceptives, alcohol, hormonal changes, and menopause.
DEALING WITH A MIGRAINE AT WORK: A typical work environment has many triggers for migraines such as bright lights, loud noises, stress, and long hours, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. If you suspect a migraine is coming, you should immediately take any relevant medications. Try to cut out any sources of blue light such as computer screens, phone screens, and fluorescent lighting. Avoid pungent odors and loud or harsh sounds. Dehydration can trigger the pain or make it worse, so make sure you’re drinking enough water. Then take some deeps breaths and draw out the exhales to help your body relax.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
Susan Hall, PR Baylor
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