Migraine is a neurological disorder, Usually migraine causes episodes of severe or moderate headache (which is often one-sided and pulsating) lasting for between several hours to three days, accompanied by gastrointestinal upsets, such as nausea and vomiting, and during which they avoid bright lights (photophobia) and noise (phonophobia). Approximately one third of people who experience migraine get a preceding aura.
Treatments are typically expensive. Periodic or unpredictable disability can cause impoverishment due to patients' inability to work enough or to hold a job at all.
Migraines' secondary characteristics are inconsistent. Triggers precipitating a particular episode of migraine vary widely. The efficacy of the simplest treatment, applying warmth or coolness to the affected area of the head, varies between persons, sometimes worsening the migraine. A particular migraine rescue drug may sometimes work and sometimes not work in the same patient. Some migraine types don't have pain or may manifest symptoms in parts of the body other than the head.
Available evidence suggests that migraine pain is one symptom of several to many disorders of the serotonergic control system, a dual hormone-neurotransmitter with numerous types of receptors. Two disorders — classic migraine with aura (MA, STG) and common migraine without aura (MO, STG) — have been shown to have a genetic factor. Studies on twins show that genes have a 60 to 65?nfluence on the development of migraine (PMID 10496258 and PMID 10204850 ). Additional migraine types are suspected and could be proved to be genetic. Migraine understood as several or many disorders could explain the inconsistencies, especially if a single patient has more than one genetic type.
However, still other migraine types might be functionally acquired due to hormone organ disease or injury. Three quarters of adult migraine patients are female, although pre-pubertal migraine affects approximately equal numbers of boys and girls. This reveals the strong correlation to hormonal cycling and hormonal-related causes or triggers. Hormonal migraine is a likely consequence of periodically falling hormone levels causing reduction in protein biosynthesis of metabolic components including intestinal tract serotonin.
migraine trigger is any factor that, on exposure or withdrawal, leads to the development of an acute migraine headache. Triggers may be categorized as behavioral, environmental, infectious, dietary, chemical, or hormonal.
Migraine attacks may be triggered by:
• Allergic reactions • Bright lights, loud noises, and certain odors or perfumes • Physical or emotional stress • Changes in sleep patterns • Smoking or exposure to smoke • Skipping meals • Alcohol or caffeine • Menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills • Tension headaches • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami) • Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods.
Many people report that one or more dietary, physical, hormonal, emotional, or environmental factors precipitate their migraines. The most-often reported triggers include perfumes or fragrances (30?f sufferers) stress, over-illumination or glare, alcohol, foods, too much or too little sleep, and weather. Some women experience migraines in conjunction with monthly menstrual cycles.
Sometimes the migraine occurs with no apparent "cause". The trigger theory supposes that exposure to various environmental factors precipitates, or triggers, individual migraine episodes. Migraine patients have long been advised to try to identify personal headache triggers by looking for associations between their headaches and various suspected trigger factors. Patients are urged to keep a "headache diary" in which to note what they eat and when they get a headache, to look for correlations, and to try to avoid headache by avoiding factors they identify as triggers. Typically this advice is accompanied by a list of trigger factors.
In 2005, authors who reviewed the medical literature found that the available information about dietary trigger factors relies mostly on the subjective assessments of patients. Some suspected dietary trigger factors appear to genuinely promote or precipitate migraine episodes, but many other suspected dietary triggers have never been demonstrated to trigger migraines. The review authors found that alcohol, caffeine withdrawal, and missing meals are the most important dietary migraine precipitants. The authors say dehydration deserves more attention, and that some patients are sensitive to red wine. The authors found little or no demonstrated evidence that notorious suspected triggers chocolate, cheese, or that histamine, tyramine, nitrates, or nitrites normally present in foods trigger headaches. The artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) has not been shown to trigger headache, but in a large and definitive study monosodium glutamate (MSG) in large doses (2.5 grams) was associated with adverse symptoms including headache more often than was placebo. The review authors also note that while general dietary restriction has not been demonstrated to be an effective migraine therapy, it is beneficial for the individual to avoid what has been a definite cause of the migraine.
On the other hand, several headache clinics have had good results with individually tailored dietary restriction as a therapy. Dr. Ian Livingstone, director of the Princeton Headache Clinic, recommends eliminating the following common headache triggers from the diet: aged cheese, monosodium glutamate, processed fish and meats containing nitrates (such as hot dogs), dark chocolate, aspartame, certain alcoholic beverages (including red wine), citrus fruits, and caffeine. After a period of one to two months, these foods can be reintroduced one at a time to determine their trigger potential for that individual. Adding large amounts of the suspected trigger in a short time may generate a response that is easy to observe.
Dr. David Buchholz, a neurologist who treats headaches at Johns Hopkins Hospital, has a longer list of suspected migraine triggers. He also recommends eliminating the triggers from the diet altogether, and then reintroducing them slowly after many weeks to measure the effects. His list includes: coffee (including decaf), chocolate, monosodium glutamate, processed meats and fish (aged, canned, preserved, processed with nitrates, and some meats that contain tyramine), cheese and dairy products (the more aged, the worse), nuts, citrus and some other fruits, certain vegetables (especially onions), fresh risen yeast baked goods, dietary sources of tyramine (including the foods listed above), and whatever gives you a headache.
The National Headache Foundation has a more specific list of triggers, which differs slightly from David Buchholz's list. For example, it says that decaffeinated coffee is allowed. The list details "Allowed", "Use with caution", and "Avoid" triggers.
Several studies have found some migraines are triggered by changes in weather. One study(Prince, 2004) noted that 62?f the subjects in the study thought that weather was a factor, in fact 51?ere actually sensitive to weather changes. Among those whose migraines did occur during a change in weather, the subjects often picked a weather change other than the actual weather data recorded. Most likely to trigger a migraine were, in order:
Temperature mixed with humidity. High humidity plus high or low temperature was the biggest cause.
Significant changes in weather
Changes in barometric pressure
Another study(Cooke, 2000) researched whether chinook winds (warm westerly winds occurring along the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains) are a migraine trigger. Many patients had increased incidence of migraines immediately before and/or during the chinook winds. The number of people reporting migrainous episodes during the chinook winds was higher on high-wind chinook days. The probable cause is "through increased air positive ion concentrations." (Cooke, 2000; full text web search quote)
Hair Wash Headache
Another trigger for Migraine has been proposed by Dr.K.Ravishankar, a neurologist and headache specialist from India. He reported an unusual trigger for migraine seen among Indian women, Hair Wash Headache. It is described as a migraine headache that originates with a head bath. Most Indian women have long hair and so wash their hair 2-3 times a week. Very often they do not use a hair dryer and often plait their hair when wet. This results in a gradual build up of pain which ultimately results in Migraine.
Conventional treatment focuses on three areas: trigger avoidance, symptomatic control, and preventive drugs. Patients who experience migraines often find that the recommended treatments are not 100?ffective at preventing migraines, and sometimes may not be effective at all.
Patients can attempt to identify and avoid factors that promote or precipitate migraine episodes. Moderation in alcohol and caffeine intake, consistency in sleep habits, and regular meals may be helpful. Beyond an often pronounced placebo effect, general dietary restriction has not been demonstrated to be an effective approach to treating migraine.
Nonetheless, some people fervently claim that they have successfully identified foods that are likely to result in migraines, and by avoiding them, can decrease the likelihood of an episode.
Migraine sufferers usually develop their own coping mechanisms for the pain of a migraine attack. A cold or hot shower directed at the head, a hot or cold wet washcloth, a warm bath, or resting in a dark and silent room may be as helpful as medication for many patients, but both should be used when needed.
Some headache sufferers are surprised to learn that a simple cup of coffee is used daily around the world to control minor vascular headaches that are not quite migraines. Minor vascular headaches are frequently associated with the hormonal fluctuations of menstrual periods, irregular eating, and unusually hard work. For migraineurs, a well-timed cup of coffee can prevent outright migraine under the same conditions.
A simple treatment, which has been effective for some, is a counteracting "ice cream headache", briefly provoked by placing spoonfuls of ice cream on the soft palate at the back of the mouth. (Hold them there with your tongue until they melt or become intolerable.) This directs cooling to the hypothalamus, which is suspected to be involved with the migraine feedback cycle, and for some it can stop even a severe headache very quickly.
For patients who have been diagnosed with recurring migraines, doctors recommend taking migraine abortive medicines to treat the attack as soon as possible. Migraine without aura presenting without prodrome or nausea can present with sudden onset. Many patients avoid taking their medications when an attack is beginning, hoping that "it will go away". However, in many cases once an attack is underway, it can become intensely painful, last for a long time (sometimes even for several days), and become somewhat resistant to medical treatment. In contrast, treating the attack at the onset can often abort it before it becomes serious, and can reduce the near-term frequency of subsequent attacks.
The first line of treatment is over-the-counter (OTC) abortive medication. Patients themselves often start off with paracetamol (known as acetaminophen in the USA), aspirin, ibuprofen, or other simple analgesics that are useful for tension headaches. Some patients find relief from taking Benadryl, an OTC sedative antihistamine, or anti-nausea agents. OTC drugs may provide some relief, although they are typically not effective for most sufferers. It is one of doctors' practical diagnoses of migraine head pain when patients say typical OTC drugs "won't touch it".
If the patient hasn't tried it, doctors may suggest the simple analgesics combined with caffeine. During a migraine attack, emptying of the stomach is slowed, resulting in nausea and a delay in absorbing medication. Caffeine has been shown to partially reverse this effect, and probably accounts for its benefit. Excedrin is an example of an aspirin with caffeine product. Caffeine is recognized by the U.S. FDA as an OTC treatment for migraine.
Sumatriptan and related selective serotonin receptor agonists are now the therapy of choice for chronic migraine attacks. Triptans are a mid-line treatment suitable for many migraineurs with typical migraines. They may not work for atypical or unusually severe migraines, transformed migraines, or status (continuous) migraines.
Triptans are highly effective, reducing the symptoms or aborting the attack within 30 to 90 minutes in 70-80?f patients. Many patients have a recurrent migraine later in the day, and only one such recurrence in a day can be treated with a second dose of a triptan.
Triptans have few side effects if used in correct dosage and frequency. Although there is a theoretical risk of coronary spasm in patients with established heart disease, no clinically significant problems have ever been reported in practice.
Evidence is accumulating that these drugs are effective because they act on serotonin receptors in nerve endings as well as the blood vessels. This leads to a decrease in the release of several peptides, including CGRP and Substance P.
These drugs have been available only by prescription (US, Canada and UK), but sumatriptan became available over-the-counter in the UK in June, 2006. The brand name of the OTC product in the UK is Imigran Recovery. Injectable sumatriptan should be available in generic formula in early 2007 as the patent on Imitrex STATDose expires in December, 2006. The patent on Imitrex tablets expires in the USA in 2009, and the generic sumatriptan tablets should be available shortly thereafter. Many migraine sufferers do not use them only because they have not sought treatment from a physician, but others don't because they know that they can't afford them at current prescription prices.
Triptan therapy has been shown to result in a reduction in lost productivity. Sumatriptan has been shown to result in an average of 0.5 fewer missed workdays during the first three months of therapy and 0.7 fewer missed workdays within the first six months, as well as a reduction in the number of days spent working while symptomatic. The average reduction in lost productivity has been estimated at $1,249, at a cost of $25 per day of disability avoided. The annual net savings in reduced health care costs and lost productivity, over the increased cost of triptan therapy, has been estimated at between $114 and $540 per patient; thus the use of these pharmaceuticals represents a cost savings as well as an improvement in the patients' quality of life.
Triptans' cost, typically $20 USD per dose and up to two doses per headache, is a serious problem for low-income patients. In most non-US countries these costs are considerably lower — typically $5-10 per dose. To their credit, drug companies often provide them free to low-income patients in the USA.
Until the introduction of sumatriptan (Imitrex®/Imigran®) in 1991, ergot derivatives (see ergoline) were the primary oral drugs available to abort a migraine once it is established.
Ergot drugs can be used either as a preventive or abortive therapy, though their relative expense and cumulative side effects suggest reserving them as an abortive rescue medicine. However, ergotamine tartrate tablets (usually with caffeine), though highly effective, and long lasting (unlike triptans), have fallen out of favour due to the problem of ergotism — temporarily disabling calf pain caused by overuse. Oral ergotamine tablet absorption is reliable unless the patient is nauseated. Anti-nausea administration is available by ergotamine suppository (or Ergostat sublingual tablets made until circa 1992). Ergotamine-caffeine 1/100 mg fixed ratio tablets (like Cafergot, Ercaf, etc.) are much less expensive per headache than triptans, and are commonly available in Asia. They are difficult to obtain in the USA. Ergotamine-caffeine can't be regularly used to abort evening or night onset migraines due to debilitating caffeine interference with sleep. Pure ergotamine tartrate is highly effective for evening-night migraines, but is rarely or never available in the USA. Dihydroergotamine (DHE), which must be injected or inhaled, can be as effective as ergotamine tartrate, but is much more expensive than $2 USD Cafergot tablets.
If over-the-counter medications do not work, or if triptans are unaffordable, the next step for many doctors is to prescribe fioricet or fiorinal, which is a combination of butalbital (a barbiturate), acetaminophen (in fioricet) or acetylsalicylic acid (more commonly known as aspirin and present in fiorinal), and caffeine. While the risk of addiction is low, butalbital can be habit-forming if used daily, and it can also lead to rebound headaches. Barbiturate-containing medications are not available in many European countries.
Narcotic pain killers (for example, codeine, morphine or other opiates) provide variable relief, but their side effects, the possibility of causing rebound headaches or analgesic overuse headache, and the risk of addiction contraindicates their general use.
Amidrine (a cocktail of a pain reliever, a sedative, and a vasoconstrictor) is sometimes prescribed for migraine headaches.
Anti-emetics by suppository or injection may be needed in cases where vomiting dominates the symptoms. The earlier these drugs are taken in the attack, the better their effect.
Intravenous chlorpromazine has proven very effective in treating status migrainosus—intractable and unremitting migraine.
Status migraine is an extremely rare life-threatening condition. In otherwise uncomplicated, non-nauseated cases, it can be treated with 20 mg of prednisone tablets every eight hours until the migraine ends, followed by mandatory tapering off doses (the classic steroid taper). Prednisone is a cortisol-like semi-synthetic adrenal hormone, a non-anabolic steroid, which strongly stimulates biosynthesis of proteins from DNA. The replicated proteins include enzymes that cure the migraine through numerous metabolic boosts, including molecular construction of more natural serotonin to be stored in blood platelets.
Prednisone risks include immune system suppression, adrenal axis suppression, non-addictive dependence, and long-term osteoporosis. Vitamin antioxidants taken with calcium and magnesium may reduce the damage caused by the extra free radicals released, and the bone lost, during long term prednisone use.
Answered By: SENSEI - 7/1/2007