Good News/Bad News
May 15, 2008 by Debbie
Good News: April 15, 2008 GlaxoSmithKline has received FDA approval for a new drug treatment for acute migraine with and without aura. This “new” drug is a mixed bag. It is called Treximet and is a combination of sumatriptan (Imitrex 85 mg) and 500 mg naproxen sodium. Studies have shown that more migraine sufferers received relief within 2 hours than those who took Imitrex, naproxen sodium, or placebo alone. To view the entire press release go here.
I was led to this press release after visiting a Fox news story.
The gentleman featured in the article, Richard Higgins, takes over the counter medication for his migraines. These medications inadequately treats his migraine. He can still feel the pain and has tunnel vision among other symptoms. The story went on to state that he knew there “were stronger class of drugs available”, but he was hesitant to take them. Richard stated, “It’s a sedative, Patients can get addicted to this medication. Patients have cognitive and thinking problems.” Now, I can only guess what medication he is referring to, but this is a telling statement because there are classes of drugs developed for migraine treatment that are neither sedatives nor addictive.
First, how many migraine sufferers are under-treated? Second, how many are misinformed about effective treatment for acute migraine. Imitrex has been on the market since 1992 and it really changed my life. But what about Richard and the others who falsely believe that migraine medication is addicting? (Caveat, he may have been referring to a class of drugs that are sedatives and are addicting, but most doctors don’t consider these medications as the treatment of choice.)
My first reaction is shame on primary care physicians who are uninformed about migraine and, therefore, are dispensing misleading information. My second reaction is shame on American culture that demands that men and women have a stiff upper lip, suck it up, and go on with life. It seems that these days pain is a non-issue. With news stories about the addictive potential of some pain relievers, some sufferers are afraid to take anything stronger than aspirin.
My next reaction is shame on the reporter who apparently is no better informed on migraine than Richard and on the editor who printed the article without correcting the error.
I guess these days I shouldn’t be shocked at what I read in the media, but I am saddened that a misinformed migraineur was used as a hook to promote a “new” drug that is made from an old drug that could have treated his pain.