Great news for the 37 million Americans who are suffering from migraines: the FDA has approved a battery-powered patch which delivers a single dose of Zecuity (sumatriptan iontophoretic transdermal system), a most commonly used drug for the treatment of acute migraine. The patch treats not only migraine pain but migraine-related nausea as well.
What is migraine ?
More people in the world suffer from migraines than from epilepsy, diabetes and asthma together. While fairly common, migraine is a very painful, debilitating headache that often comes with sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. Some people have warning signs, called aura, which tell them that migraine is coming. The most common sign is a disturbed vision.
Medical professionals agree that migraine is caused by some type of abnormal brain activity, but what exactly happens in the brain to trigger migraine pain is not clear. It is believed that the migraine attack involvs brain chemistry and nerve pathways, affecting blood flow in the brain.
The most common triggers are stress, alcohol, anxiety, some smells, noise, bright lights, caffeine withdrawal, hormonal changes, lack of food, smoking, processed or fermented foods, chocolate, nuts, food with tyramine such as cheeses and wine, avocado, banana, bacon, salami and many other things. Each migraine sufferer has individual list of triggers.
What does the patch bring?
The scientists from the Headache Institute at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, New York, explain that the patch treats at the same time the headache and its accompanying nausea. Normally, they have to be treated separately, and taking pills can be very difficult for people with nausea because it is usually followed by vomiting. The nausea can be as incapacitating as the migraine pain, and it is recommended that the treatment should not involve patients” â„¢ gastrointestinal tract.
The FDA approved the patch after the trial which involved more than 800 patients and 10,000 Zecuity patches. Zecuity patch proved to be very effective and safe. The effect was noticeable about two hours after the patch has been placed.
The patch is not recommended for people with high blood pressure that is not under control, people with bad circulation, history of heart disease, stroke, basilar migraine, heart arrhythmia, and transient ischemic attack. Since there are some other serious counter-indications for the patch, it is important to talk to your doctor to see if it is the right solution for you. As with other new medications and systems, any side effects should be reported to the FDA.