Reader's Mail: Headache Treatment Requires Individualized Approach

Reader's Mail: Headache Treatment Requires Individualized Approach

Q. I get three to four migraines per month, sometimes with aura, sometimes without. I find that my biggest triggers are my menstrual cycle and stress. Given this, which medication is more effective for migraine prevention: beta blockers or calcium…

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Blood Pressure Medication Provides Migraine Relief

Blood Pressure Medication Provides Migraine Relief

The high blood pressure medication candesartan (Atacand) appears to be as effective as the more commonly prescribed medication propranolol (Inderal) in preventing migraine attacks. Many doctors already prescribe candesartan for migraine prevention, but researchers from St. Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim,…

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Throbbing Pain: Pulsations Arise from the Head, not the Heart

Throbbing Pain: Pulsations Arise from the Head, not the Heart

The throbbing quality of migraine pain many not result from changes in blood vessels as previously thought, but rather from brain waves. Experts have long believed that the throbbing quality of pain is related to arterial pulsations and the rhythm…

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"Let Down" Headache Can Arise From Many Causes

"Let Down" Headache Can Arise From Many Causes

Q. Is there anyone out there who gets vacation migraines? My world is pretty stressed. With working out of town, crazy sleep schedules, and taking care of my elderly mother-in-law, I live at a pretty high level of stress all…

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Education About Medication Is Essential to Treatment Success

Education About Medication Is Essential to Treatment Success

Health care professionals frequently prescribe triptans to stop migraine attacks, and new research shows that when professionals educate migraineurs about the medications, patients are more likely to use them as directed and are less likely to discontinue their use. This…

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Triptans Pose Potential Risks for People with Heart Disease

Triptans Pose Potential Risks for People with Heart Disease

In further news about the potential risks of some pharmaceuticals, a recent study of 120,000 migraineurs found that people with heart conditions, who should not take certain migraine medications called triptans, had been prescribed the medications anyway. The study, reported…

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Pharmaceutical Giant Abandons Late-Stage Migraine Drug

Pharmaceutical Giant Abandons Late-Stage Migraine Drug

The pharmaceutical company Merck recently announced it has dropped the program for its migraine drug telcagepant, which had been in the late stages of development. The company did not cite reasons for this course of action, but its decision is…

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Reader's Mail: Headaches Return after Taking Triptan

Reader's Mail: Headaches Return after Taking Triptan

Q. I have had a kidney removed due to cancer. Consequently, I’ve been told to avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and other pain relievers that are metabolized through the kidneys so as to not stress the remaining kidney. Acetaminophen no longer…

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Telcagepant Shows Promise But Also Raises Concerns

Telcagepant Shows Promise But Also Raises Concerns

Merck & Co., Inc. has been pursuing a new migraine medication, called telcagepant, which blocks the action of a chemical called calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. CGRP has been implicated in migraine in a number of studies. The drug, which…

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Triptans Helpful for Cluster Headache

Triptans Helpful for Cluster Headache

Treatment options for the severely painful condition called cluster headache are limited. Because triptans are used successfully to treat migraine attacks, researchers from Oxford, England, believed they might also be useful for cluster headache. To determine their effectiveness, they analyzed…

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Triptans Cleared of Causing Birth Defects

Triptans Cleared of Causing Birth Defects

Women are cautioned against taking certain drugs during pregnancy for fear of causing harm to their fetuses. A new study of nearly 70,000 pregnant women found no link between the triptans—the most commonly used prescription migraine medications—and birth defects of…

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Too Little Sleep and Too Much Weight Linked to Greater Migraine Medication Use During Pregnancy

Too Little Sleep and Too Much Weight Linked to Greater Migraine Medication Use During Pregnancy

For many women, pregnancy brings relief from headaches, but not all women are so lucky. Some actually experience more symptoms, particularly in the first trimester. “Consequently, these women may require pharmacotherapy during this period, which also corresponds to the most…

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