Learn More About Migraine Symptoms and Treatment The New York Times

The woman’s disease does not receive a lot of research funding, however medical professionals have progressed in the development of new devices and drugs to treat migraine in the past five years.

If you’re not suffering from migraine headaches it is likely that you have a friend who suffers from migraine headaches. About 40 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches — 28 million of them females and girls, making migraine the second-most debilitating illness in the world following the low back pain. A number of studies have shown that migraine was more prevalent in the midst of the pandemic.

I experience migraine headaches occasionally, but they’re not as painful as excruciating. Every couple of weeks, ocular migraines blur my vision and cause oddly zig-zagging lights for about up to an hour; and every once or twice per year, I experience attacks that result in temporarily lost memory. (One was felt as I was shopping and I didn’t know what the year or month it was in, or what I was looking to purchase or what age my kids were.)

Despite its prevalence the field of migraine research is a long time unfunded. It is estimated that the National Institutes of Health spent only $40 million for migraine studies in the year 2021. By contrast the institute has spent $218 million on research into epilepsy, which affects 1/12th of all Americans. Why is this devastating disease so poorly understood?

“It’s female-specific,” explained neurologist Dr. Robert Cowan, director of the Stanford Headache Program. Also the sexism he described is a major factor in the medical profession’s indifference to the illness.

The positive side is that in the last several decades, medical community has been more concerned about the subject, and a variety of innovative treatments for migraine have been accepted through the Food and Drug Administration. Some are very promising. Here’s what sufferers of migraine need to be aware of today’s treatment options.

A lot of Americans suffering from migraine suffer silently. “Fewer than 30 percent of patients who suffer from migraine get medical assistance however only a few of them will be treated for migraine in a timely manner,” said Dr. Santiago Mazuera, a neurologist at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute in Baltimore.

Migraine is a neurologic disorder that is distinct from common headaches. It is possible for a person to be suffering from migraine if they’ve had at least five headaches during their lifetime that last anywhere between four and seven days and if the headache meets two of the four requirements that it throbs or pulses when it occurs situated on the opposite part of one’s head and and it is moderate to severe and is more severe with activity. Furthermore, these headaches are likely to cause discomfort or nausea due to exposure to light or sounds.

If you suspect that you suffer from migraine, you should consult your primary physician and the doctor Dr. Mazuera suggested. “There is a greater knowledge of migraine in the primary care field in recent years, and there is more understanding of the more recent methods,” he said. If you’re not getting the care that you need, you may consider seeing a migraine specialist or neurologist, according to doctor. Seniha Ozudogru. She is an neurologist in Penn Medicine. Patients suffering from migraine are more susceptible to other diseases, such as stroke, heart disease, depression, epilepsy, and anxiety.

If you suffer from migraine you should keep a journal of your headache as well as downloading an migraine application to pinpoint triggers. For instance, women frequently experience migraines right prior to their period. It is treated in a variety methods, including using an estrogen patch as the doctor. Cowan said. Other migraine triggers are stress, excessive or insufficient sleep and alcohol, caffeine or other beverages, changes in weather, certain food items, dehydration, certain smells and light as per the American Migraine Foundation.

Sometimes, triggers are only specific and add-on: You may not experience an attack of migraine after drinking just one glasses of red wine, however the consumption of red wine and an uneasy night’s sleep could cause it according to the doctor. Cowan said. A headache journal can assist you in identifying the triggers and determine the possibility of having chronic migraine. Chronic migraine is defined as experiencing headaches for more than 15 days in a month for more than 3 months, and at least eight of those days exhibit symptoms reminiscent of migraine.

Based upon your complaints and frequency, your doctor might suggest a preventive migraine treatment to stop headaches from beginning. These kinds of medications include antidepressants such as amitriptyline, blood pressure medicines like propranolol and epilepsy medications like valproate, Doctor. Cowan said.

The issue with these medications is that frequently “they are associated with unpleasant side effects,” Dr. Cowan explained, which is why they’re not often recommended or accepted. I took propranolol briefly to treat my migraines however, every when I did exercise I felt lightheaded and weak.

The doctor may recommend taking medication prior to the onset of migraine to reduce your symptoms, as an conjunction with or instead of preventive treatment. In the treatment of migraine at the time of the onset, doctors have prescribed triptans -drugs like sumatriptan which help reduce inflammation and narrow blood vessels as well as anti-inflammatory pain medicines like ibuprofen. However, these techniques aren’t always effective and triptans can trigger adverse effects such as nausea and dizziness.

In the past five years, several of novel drugs and devices have been approved to prevent and treatment for acute migraine.

Certain of these drugs inhibit the function of a pain-related protein known as C.G.R.P., Dr. Ozudogru explained. For the prevention of migraine, monoclonal antibody that are administered regularly intravenously. There are also supplements that are called ditans and gepants (with brand names such as Nurtec ODT, Ubrelvy and Reyvow) which can be taken prior to the onset of migraine to stop the effects of C.G.R.P. Rimegepant (Nurtec ODT) has been accepted by the F.D.A. to prevent and treat migraine the doctor. Ozudogru told reporters. This is noteworthy because many medications only do both.

The drugs don’t appear to cause any significant adverse consequences the doctor. Cowan said — although they may cause mild nausea however, they’re usually not prescribed until a person has tried various first-line treatment options. It’s due in part to the fact that the new medications are costly they say. Dr. Ozudogru noted that some doctors are also wary of using the latest therapies because they’re new and no one can tell the degree of safety they have for long-term use. For instance, C.G.R.P. helps to heal the body from strokes. Therefore, medications that block C.G.R.P. activity may hinder recovery in those who have suffered a stroke, she added.

Another treatment that is accepted to treat migraine that is chronic specifically includes the drug cosmetically known as Botox. It is injected in the neck and around the head and is believed to function by blocking the flow of messages of pain through the brain. “I enjoy Botox quite a bit,” Dr. Cowan stated. However, he noted, “not everybody can tolerate being shot on the head for 31 times with just a small needle.” In general, Botox treatment is repeated every 12 weeks.

A variety of medical devices have been approved in recent times to treat migraine. “These are backed by solid research,” Dr. Cowan stated, and are suitable for patients who are unable to tolerate medications or who are pregnant. Gammacore is a handheld device can target vagus nerve located in the neck. Nerivio, a smartphone-controlled device worn on the arm, uses electrical signals to disrupt pain pathways. Cefaly stimulates the trigeminal nerve located on the forehead while Relivion stimuli the trigeminal as well as the occipital nerves.

Although the newer technology and treatments look promising, many patients are unable to cover them by their health insurance plans Dr. Mazuera said. They can also be expensive The price list for certain monoclonal antibody treatments is over $650 for a monthly injection, while the Cefaly device is $379. But CHAMP, the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients CHAMP, also known as CHAMP offers guides to help patients manage costs associated with treatment through the savings cards offered by pharmaceutical companies and financial assistance plans. Additionally, The Patient Advocate Foundation has resources to handle appeals and insurance denials in addition to other matters.

The condition is very debilitating, and can be difficult to manage. However, patients shouldn’t give up hope the doctor. Ozudogru said. If she meets new patients suffering from migraine, she will reassure patients: “I’m not going to abandon the fight,” she says. “We’ll continue to work.” And now there are more options for treatment than ever before to select from.

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