January 18, 2020

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.

Botox for Preventing Migraines??

Usually when people get plastic surgery it is for aesthetic purposes, such as fixing a crooked nose or erasing wrinkles from the face and neck. A new study, published in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, suggests that the drug botox, which is normally used to temporarily diminish wrinkles, may also be helpful in preventing certain types of migraines. The dermatologists conducting the study wanted to test whether using Botox is smaller doses had the same effect as prior studies in reducing the number of migraines that people experienced. In those prior studies it was discovered that individuals who experienced ocular and imploding headaches responded well to Botox. Individuals who experienced the exploding type of migraines did not respond to the Botox treatment. Additionally, these studies were conducted by neurologists, and in this study, the research was conducted by dermatologists in a cosmetic setting.

The dermatologists examined eighteen patients who were considering having Botox done for cosmetic purposes and who also suffered from migraines. Ten of these patients experienced ocular or crushing migraines, while the other patients suffered from exploding or pressure building headaches. Some of the patients even complained of experiencing both types of migraines. After three months of Botox treatments, the dermatologists found that thirteen of the patients reported a reduction in migraine pain, including all ten of the ocular headache sufferers and three of the exploding headache sufferers. Specifically, for those living with ocular migraines saw a decrease in their headaches from seven per month to one per month. In the exploding headache group, the patients saw a decrease from approximately eleven per month to nine per month.

Although this and previous studies appear to indicate that Botox may be beneficial for migraine treatment, use of the drug is still not largely advocated by the medical establishment, and the American Academy of Neurology has advised against its use for these debilitating headaches. The dermatologists conducting this study, however, believe that additional research is necessary to determine if Botox could be an alternative treatment for certain migraine sufferers who do not experience relief with traditional therapies. They assert that this small study, coupled with the prior Botox studies, make a good argument for the use of Botox for ocular migraines. In fact, some doctors, who have a patient who has not responded to regular migraine treatment, refer them to a dermatologist for Botox. Although insurance does not cover the treatments, approximately fifty percent of patients report a reduction in the headaches. What would be really interesting to know is what a person’s face looks like after all of the injections to keep the migraines at bay…

New Study Suggests Link Between Migraines and Heart Disease

Migraine sufferers now have another symptom to monitor in addition to the traditional pain and debilitating discomfort associated with the condition. In a new report from Reuters Health, researchers have found that people who suffer from migraines may have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke than those who do not have the severe headaches. Previous studies have shown a link between cardiovascular disease and migraines with auras, however, none have been conclusive regarding migraines without auras, which account for eighty percent of migraine sufferers. Auras are neurological symptoms that include visual difficulties, tingling, and ringing of the ears that may precede a migraine.

The study followed 11,000 individuals with and without migraines. The researchers found that instances of heart attack, stroke, or other migraine heart disease linkcardiovascular problems were much more likely in those people who had migraines. Moreover, there was no differential between migraines with auras and without; they were all equally susceptible to heart conditions. Although there is no specific known cause for migraines, it is generally accepted that migraine pain involves the constriction and swelling of blood vessels. The researchers believe that this study indicates that people with migraines may suffer from an overall problem with blood vessels throughout the body. Additionally, they found that migraine sufferers also exhibited high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which all contribute to cardiovascular disease. The researchers were quick to note, however, that even these conditions did not demonstrate why a link between migraines and cardiovascular problems exists. Although they believe that there may be some underlying susceptibility of individuals with migraines to develop heart conditions, further research pinpointing the exact cause will be necessary.

The researchers also caution migraine sufferers against worrying too much about these findings. Although individuals suffering with migraines have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, the overall, absolute risk is relatively small. For example, only four percent of the migraine sufferers studied also had cardiovascular problems. In the group who did not experience migraines, the rate was two percent, which is not a large gap. Despite this small difference between the two groups, the researchers do encourage migraine sufferers to monitor and guard against any risk factors that may contribute to heart problems, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.

In addition to watching your risk factors, it may also be important to discuss possible cardiovascular problems with your doctor. Severe heart disease, as well as migraines, may prevent you from working and are considered disabilities by the Social Security Administration. Being properly diagnosed and treated will not only help you manage these conditions, but may also result in a faster outcome for disability benefits. If you are having any thoughts that you may have risk factors that could lead to heart disease in addition to your migraines, ask your doctor to take your blood work and begin any necessary treatment.