Managing Migraine Misery
30 million people suffer these debilitating headaches. If you’re one of them, there are new treatments to consider.
My daughter Brook has suffered from migraines since her teens. Despite consults with big-deal specialists on both coasts, she’s endured headaches like clockwork every month for years.
Mostly, she powers through her migraines, using meds as sparingly as she can because they make her goofy and cost 20 bucks a pop. Her migraines are hormone-triggered, and recently she’s figured out that she can avoid two out of three by not taking the inactive “sugar pills” at the end of a birth control pack.
For many patients like Brook, treating migraines is a voyage of self-discovery, consulting with experts about what treatments are available then seeing what works for them.
Compared to chronic migraine patients who suffer headaches 15 or more days a month, Brook has it easy. Cindy McCain, who has had migraines for 15 years, likens it to “someone putting an axe through your forehead.”
Various painkillers, including NSAIDs, ergot and triptans, are used to control the discomfort. Last year a new medication, which combines a triptan with naproxen sodium, was introduced – Treximet, which is worth seeking out, as it is more effective than either of the drugs alone.
In the past few years, several new options for treatment have emerged, two from the unlikely arena of a plastic surgery suite.