A skin patch can serve migraine sufferers avert expected fallouts – as well as allowing bigger pain relief of the migraine symptoms.
The patch holds sumatriptan, an drug which are presently applied in tablet form to treat the problem.
Today an American companionship has developed a patch that are as powerful as oral medicament but avoids the potential gastro-intestinal side-effects, such as nausea and vomiting.
A patch can also provide a constant and steady supply of medicine into the bloodstream, which might offer better relief.
Migraine treatment affects an estimated 10% of the United Kingdom population – mostly women – and results in around 18000000 lost working days every year.
Trials of the new patch are ongoing and the migraine headaches patch is likely to be available in the next year or so.
Migraine sufferers are now able to buy one of the most effective drugs for their condition direct from their chemist – without the need for a prescription.
Existing over-the-counter drugs can make an attack a bit more bearable, however, they can’t stop it. But Imigran Recovery (a version of the prescription drug sumatriptan), which goes on sale today, can stop a migraine in its tracks. This could make life easier for the six million people in the UK with this crippling condition ? many of whom will have access to this drug for the first time.
“About 50 per cent of people who get migraines never go to their doctor,” explains Dr Ann Gregory, of the City of London Migraine Clinic.
“They are often people who are otherwise healthy, so after they have been struck down by an attack they just never get round to seeing their GP.
“As a result, they have to rely on regular painkillers.”
An estimated 25 million working days a year are lost to migraine in the UK, costing £2 billion. Imigran works by raising the levels of the brain chemical serotonin; one theory is that migraines are caused by an expansion of the blood vessels in the brain. Serotonin helps to narrow blood vessels again.
Sumatriptan was one the first of a class of drugs known as triptans which emerged about 15 years ago. “It revolutionised treatment,” says Dr Gregory. “It allowed some patients to lead normal lives. But there are still lots of people who don’t have access to it or the other triptans. We’ve now got lot of clinical data about how sumatriptan works and we feel confident that, with appropriate safeguards, it is safe to make it more widely available.”
Not everyone was initially confident that making the drug available over the counter was a good idea.