Posts Tagged ‘migraine’

Levadex, MAP Pharmaceuticals’  orally inhaled medication for acute migraine, has met all 4 of the Phase 3 endpoints. In a news release issued on May 26, 2009 MAP Pharmaceuticals stated,

Patients taking LEVADEX therapy (formerly referred to as MAP0004) had statistically significant improvement at two hours compared to patients on placebo for each of the primary endpoints:  Pain relief,…Phonophobia… Photophobia,…and  Nausea….

Relief from nausea was particularly notable with more than two thirds of the study population gaining relief.

The Phase 3 study population of 792 Migraine sufferers had more severe migraine pain than expected with 100% experiencing moderate or severe pain.

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Hello, gentle readers. Please excuse my absence from the blog world. Unfortunately, life interrupted my plans and my dear husband and I had to make an unexpected trip to PA. For the last month, instead of searching the web for new Migraine treatments, I was learning all I could about astrocytomas, radiation, and chemotherapy. When the dust settled, all ended ok.  “Benign” is what most people would prefer, but we heard  “malignant” , instead.

However, this was not as dark and desperate as it could have been. The patient is young and the tumor was removed completely. Chemo course is half what most people have to endure.

So now that the worst is behind us, I turn my focus to Migraine. Two articles have been recently published concerning the relation between Migraine and depression. Migraine and depression are comorbid diseases (as any migraineur can attest), but evidently the etiologiy has not been studied. Both of these studies are so new that they are currently not available. Look for updates.

In other news, Lynne Greenberg published her memoir, The Body Broken: A Memoir. I have not yet read the book, but Diana Lee’s post and the exerpt on Amazon were enough to get me to buy the book.

MediClim.com, a website that offers free information regarding the weather and chronic health condidtions. Sign up for the free service and you will get an email a day prior to weather changes that may affect your Migraine disease. Migraineurs could request time off in advance instead of waiting for the Migraine to strike. There are forums available. I joined.

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courtesy of dbtechno.com

courtesy of dbtechno.com

This Chicago Tribune story came in my email this morning. In 2000, Diane Levine, who is a musician, was given Demerol and Phenergan for a migraine. Tragically for her, the physician’s assistant injected the Phenergan into an artery instead of a vein. Levine subsequently developed gangrene and had her right forearm amputated. Not suprisingly, she sued the clinic and the physician’s assistant for malpractice and received a $700,000 settlement.

What followed is tragic for all patients. Levine subsequently sued the drug company, Wyeth, for $7 million in damages, stating that there were not enough warnings on the label. In reality,  there are 6 warnings indicating that intra-artierial injection can result in gangrene. She won.

The FDA had already approved the warning labels on Phenergan. However, last week, the Supreme Court upheld the Vermont verdict. Unfortunately, and counter to present practice, it appears, in this case, the  Court  upheld that untrained juries could dictate what drug companies put on their labels instead of trained doctors and pharmacists, who comprise the FDA.

In the end, Diane won her case against Wyeth, but who loses? All of may lose. Migraineurs may lose. They may not want to take a drug out of fear. They may not be given approved, safe drugs for fear of a lawsuit. Drug companies may not develop drugs with severe side effects for fear of a law suit. We all may pay higher prices for drugs that we need. In the end, sick people are inadequately treated. Just like Justice Alito said in his dissent, “tragic facts make for bad law”. This is one of them.

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AHDAlogoThe second  Headache on the Hill will be held in Washington, DC next Monday and Tuesday, February 23rd and 24th. The long-term goal of AHDA is to have the National Institutes of Health increase its spending for research for Migraine and other headache disorders. This event’s purpose is

to educate members of Congress and their staff about the problem of NIH underfinding of headache research and to suggest remedies.

In addition,

we intend to make specific progammatic requests of Congress during HOH that should have lasting benefits but that will require relatively modest short-term increases in NIH expenditures.

This particular HOH is important because we have a new president and a Democratic Congress who promise action an a variety of legislative actions.
What can you do to help? Join AHDA’s mailing list and you will receive legislative alerts when it is appropriate to contact your Congressman.

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This post is in response to Arabella’s post regarding the difference between medication overuse headache (MOH) and addiction. We are both responding to redOrbit’s article Migraine Meds Can Become Addictive  (BTW, the original AP article is better. Thanks, Parin). What followed was not on addiction, but on medication overuse headaches (MOH) or rebound headaches. These headaches occur when the culprit medication wears off and a severe headache occurs.

RedOrbit’s headline conjures images of Migraineurs sneaking out at night in dark alleys looking for their next fix. This is unfortunate because there is some truth to it. Anyone who takes a medication runs a risk in becoming addicted or dependent. This is NOT the same as abusing the drug. That is a whole other ball of wax.

In the medical community addiction or drug dependence means

is a state in which the body relies on a substance for normal functioning and develops physical dependence, as in drug addiction. When the drug or substance on which someone is dependent is suddenly removed, it will cause withdrawal, a characteristic set of signs and symptoms

It doesn’t mean that the person is liable to engage in dangerous behaviors to get another “fix”. That is drug abuse. Indeed, for most patients on pain medication, the fix is not necessarily just euphoria, but pain relief. And that certainly brings a sense of well-being.

There are many pain relievers that have the potential to cause drug dependence. Two of these are mentioned in the redOrbit article: Fiorial and Percocet. Fiorinal is a combination of three drugs: butalbital, aspirin, and caffeine. Butalbital is a sedative barbiturate that slows down the central nervous system. Patients can become dependent on butalbital and may find themselves taking Fiorinal more frequently just to function.

There is a double whammy in Fiorinal in that the butalbital can cause dependence; the aspirin and the caffeine can cause medication overuse headaches. So the woman highlighted in the article may have had both drug dependence and MOHs.

The same is true for Percocet. It is a similar drug prescribed for pain. It contains oxycodone and acetominephin. Oxycodone is an opoid narcotic pain reliever, similar to morphine. Acetominephin (Tylenol®) is a milder analgesic and enhances the pain relieving properties of oxycodone. Like butalbital, oxycodone can cause drug dependence, especially if taken more frequently than prescribed. The acetominephin can be the culprit in medication overuse headaches.

So it appears that drugs that combine a barbiturate or an opioid analgesic with aspirin, caffeine, or acetominephin carries the risk of both drug dependence (addiction) and medication overuse headaches. It does NOT necessarily lead to drug abuse.

Have an AWAP day,


Photo courtesy of http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/d/d7/VariousPills.JPG

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