What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Early Treatment Equals Fast Relief

Stave Off Symptoms?

Migraine prevention is not so easy to achieve, however, a new combination drug, taken early, can stave off symptoms. This is according to study results published in a July 8, 2008 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. It seems that the trick is in the timing.

Combination Drug

The medication described contains both sumatriptan, a migraine drug that acts on constricted blood vessels, and naproxen sodium, one of a class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) that solve the inflammation part of the migraine equation, getting rid of such symptoms as sinus pain and pressure as well as pain occurring in the neck area.

Lead author of the study, Stephen Silberstein, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology says, "This study provides more evidence that treating a migraine at the first sign of pain increases the likelihood of relief."

Silberstein's study involved 1,111 people who suffer from migraines and who had experienced between 2-6 attacks per month within a three month period prior to the inception of the study. Half of the participants received the sumatriptan and naproxen combination drug within an hour after migraine pain had begun and before pain had become severe. The rest of the study subjects were treated with a placebo.

Two hours after treatment was given, some 50% of those who received the combination drug therapy reported they were free of all pain, as compared with around 16% of those who had received only a placebo. Those who had taken the placebo risked progressing to moderate or intense pain at a rate of three to one over the course of a four hour period than those who had been treated with the combination sumatriptan and naproxen drug.

Symptoms were reduced in those who took the medication and participants reported experiencing fewer of the more common symptoms associated with migraine, such as, nausea, and light and sound sensitivity, as well as fewer of the less common signs of migraine, like sinus and neck pain as compared to those participants treated with the placebo.

Silberstein stressed that only participants whose migraines included a mild phase of pain were admitted into the study. Therefore, these promising results may not be applicable to those who experience migraines that begin at the moderate to intense level of pain.