The drug bias is so strong among MDs that most news reports regarding migraine announce yet another new drug claim - better than the last for reducing headaches. The drug approach to migraine has varied from the atrocious to the interesting. A better idea is to remove the food and environmental causes of headache
The Problem - Throbbing, "sick" headaches
The Solution - Diet revision using Alpha Nutrition; relaxation, massage, gentle exercise
The atrocious side of drug treatment is the over-prescription of narcotic pain-relievers, sedatives, tranquilizers and muscle relaxants. Continuous analgesic medication tends to compound the problem, not reduce the headache. Narcotic dependency (addiction) can become a greater problem than the original headache. Drugs with little or nothing to offer but side effects and the risk of dependency include sedative drugs, barbiturates and muscle relaxants.
A wide variety of drugs may reduce the severity of migraine; the diverse mechanisms by which these drugs act point to the multistage, complex mediator pattern of migraine. For years, ergotamine was prescribed to abort the headache in its early stages, especially during the aura, before the pain had begun. Other ergot derivatives were prescribed daily as migraine prophylaxis. Sandomigran had some success but also offered very serious adverse effects. When the headache is hours-long and severe, oral prednisone can be helpful.
Aspirin or ASA remains an effective pain-relieving drug if taken in the first few minutes of an attack. Related anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen work by the same ASA mechanism, blocking the production of prostaglandins, mediators generated in the first stage of a migraine response. Later, blood platelets release serotonin, and other blood components come into play. ASA, naproxen, ibuprofen or acetominophen are suitable pain-relievers for children with migraine - they should not receive ergotamine nor sumatriptan.
Codeine can be added to aspirin to enhance the pain-relieving effect. For years aspirin, codeine and caffeine combination pills were common prescriptions for migraine - AC& C 1/2, Frosst 292s and Fiorinal C1/2. Fiorinal C1/2 be came popular street drugs; addicts and dealers solicited MD's for prescriptions, usually with migraine complaints, and sold the drug on the streets. Narcotic analgesics are also commonly used - a visit to the MD or hospital for a " shot of demerol" often with gravol for a "bad migraine" is common practice.
Sumatripan, is serotonin receptor agonist and is considered a useful drug to stop an acute migraine attack. Injected Sumatripan was said to relieve migraine headache in up to 70% of patients. The drug constricts blood vessel and like ergotamine may reduce blood flow to the heart or brain. The use of the drug is contraindicated in any history of heart disease, hypertension, stroke or threatened stroke. The use of the drug is unwise with many antidepressants, especially the MAO inhibitors and the very popular serotonin re-uptake inhibitors ( Prozac, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, sertaline). A me-too drug, zolmitriptan (ZOMIG) has similar benefits and contraindications. In qualifying studies the minimum dose of zolmitriptan of 1.0 mg was little different from placebo; a dose of 2.5 mg appeared to optimal and double dose of 5.0 mg did not improve results significantly.
Drugs used to lower blood pressure; beta blockers (BB) and calcium channel blockers (CCB) are also sometimes useful if taken daily in reducing the frequency and severity of headaches.
Better than drugs... why not remove the original food causes of migraine headaches?