Migraines are debilitating types of headaches that cause severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, as well as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Additionally, some sufferers experience auras, in which they see flashing lights, experience numbness, and experience difficulty speaking prior to the onset of a migraine. Approximately thirty-six million Americans suffer from migraines, and women tend to suffer from them three times as often as men. There is currently no cure for migraines, and treatment options are not always effective or long-lasting.
The debilitating effect of migraine headaches results in individuals having to be absent from work or social engagements. In fact, it is estimated that the loss of productivity and lost work time due to migraines costs twenty billion dollars each year. Migraine patients may take a variety of drugs to help ease the pain or prevent the attack in the first place. Other individuals, who suffer from chronic migraines, often do not respond well to traditional drug treatments and are offered prophylactic treatment drugs usually used for high blood pressure treatment and anti-depression therapy. Although these treatments may help for a limited time, chronic migraine sufferers often find the therapy becoming less effective over time.
A new treatment option is on the horizon, however, which may result in fewer trips to the doctor. The treatment, called infusion therapy, offers an infusion of a variety of drugs at one time, rather than the traditional use of one drug at a time. The therapy is conducted as an outpatient procedure eight hours a day during three consecutive days. Patients are monitored closely to ensure there are no adverse effects to the variety of drugs. The theory behind the infusion is that it will help to reset the brain and learn which medications are best for the patient in a shorter amount of time. The doctors administering the infusion hope to decrease the changes in the brain that may lead to a worsening of symptoms. Additionally, they hope that the infusion will lower the occurrence of too much medication resulting in rebound migraine headaches. The doctors also note that by using various medications at one time, they are less likely to have to guess as to how a patient will respond to one medication.
Finally, the doctors admit that the procedure is not pain free and does not represent a cure for migraines. Rather, patients will see its beneficial effects over time and hopefully, the migraines will be reduced to an occasional headache.