January 18, 2020

Several New Migraine Treatments Near FDA Approval

The United States Food & Drug Administration is likely to approve several promising new migraine treatments in 2011.   The treatment perhaps closest to market is the Zelrix patch, manufactured by NuPathe Pharmaceuticals.   According to NuPathe’s web site,

Zelrix utilizes SmartRelief, our proprietary transdermal delivery technology. SmartRelief consists of a controlled delivery technology that uses a mild electrical current to actively deliver medication through the skin in a process called iontophoresis.

zelrix transdermal patchAs you can see, the Zelrix patch looks like a large bandage with batteries and electrodes embedded therein.  The batteries generate a mild electrical current to push the medicine into the skin.   Patients who participated in one of the clinical trials enjoyed the benefit of an effective medication but did not experience the nausea and queasiness associated with traditional oral medications.


Another pharmaceutical company, Map Pharmaceuticals of Mountain View, California, is developing a mist inhaler designed to infuse the drug dihydroergotamine (DHE) into the bloodstream.  DHE is considered one of the more effective drug treatments for migraines, but it must be administered intravenously.  If Map Pharmaceutical’s formulation (called Levadex) is approved, more migraine sufferers will have access to DHE without many of the unpleasant side effects associated with current treatment.  Map has also developed a new style inhaler device called the Tempo inhaler designed to deliver medicine more effectively than current inhaler technology.

New technologies like the Zelrix patch and the Tempo inhaler offer promise to migraine sufferers who cannot tolerate oral medications (pills) or who do not respond to currently prescribed medications.   Most migraine headache Social Security disability cases involve assertions that the claimant’s severe headaches cause numerous unscheduled breaks from work and significant problems with attention and concentration.

Until new and effective treatments become widely available migraine patients will continue to qualify for disability benefits based on debilitating migraine headaches.

Aleve and/or Tylenol for Migraine Pain Management

Most people will go to any length imaginable in order to make the pain associated with a migraine headache go away.  They are often relegated to taking an assortment of prescription medications to ease the pain and possibly prevent a migraine attack from occurring.  Despite the relative success of these drugs, many migraine sufferers find they cannot take them because of the severe side effects associated with them.  Unfortunately, most individuals must take something in order to combat the migraine because its effects often result in being absent from work, school, and other activities – which is why people with migraines often end up applying for social security disability.  Two new studies published in the journal Headache, however, give some hope to those migraine sufferers who simply cannot take or do not respond well to the traditional drug therapies.  Each of these studies concluded that taking naproxen (or Aleve) and acetaminophen (or Tylenol) reduced migraine pain and recurrence, as well as other migraine symptoms, such as nausea.

In the first study, researchers from Taiwan examined the results of previous studies using naproxen at a dosage level of 500 to 825 milligrams for approximately 2,168 migraine patients.  The researchers found that naproxen reduced the migraine intensity, pain, and symptoms within two hours of taking it, according to Reuters.  This resulted in a “desirable outcome” as defined by the International Headache Society.  Despite this favorable outcome, the researchers also found that naproxen did not always offer the same clinical benefits as triptans, the traditional migraine drugs.  Moreover, the researchers also found that aspirin provided better relief than naproxen in regulating migraine pain.  In fact, according to Reuters, the research team concluded that a 1,000 milligram dose of aspirin was the best treatment option for migraines when compared to naproxen or acetaminophen.  However, many people cannot take triptans or aspirin because of their harsh side effects.  Because of this, Aleve and Tylenol may provide the best alternative to migraine pain management.

In the second study, the manufacturers of Tylenol conducted an examination 378 migraine sufferers who were randomly given Tylenol or a placebo.  Over ninety days, the researchers found that those taking the Tylenol reported reduced pain within an hour of taking the pill, and after two hours, fifty-two percent report little to no pain.  Conversely, those in the placebo group continued to report pain after two hours at a rate of sixty-eight percent.  They also found that Tylenol reduced other migraine associated problems such as nausea and light sensitivity, whereas the placebo did not.

This is great news for migraine sufferers who have reached their wits’ end about how to effectively counter the effects of a migraine.  Taking Tylenol or Aleve are low cost, effective alternatives to the traditional migraine drugs on the market.  Further, it may be easier for people to purchase and take them without having to wait for a prescription or worry about injecting a medication while at work or school.  Because these medications are not approved by the FDA as a migraine treatment, it is best to speak with your doctor about taking them as part of your migraine therapy.  Hopefully, you will get the green light to take something already in your medicine cabinet and get the relief you have been looking for.