More than 25 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches.
According to studies, patients who wait to treat migraines and overuse medication may actually worsen their conditions.
Patients often aggravate the severity of their migraine by taking too much acute medication, which only treats symptoms after a migraine starts. The International Headache Society defines overuse of medications as taking pain relievers for more than 15 days a month.
Experts say more than 50 percent of patients who suffer from migraines are candidates for preventive treatment, but only about 5 percent actually use any. A recent study of patients who switched from acute treatments to a combination of preventive and acute therapies shows office visits declined by more than 50 percent, emergency room visits decreased by more than 80 percent, and medication costs decreased by about $40 to $140 per patient.
According to doctors drug topiramate, which is also used for treating seizures, may be an effective treatment for migraines. One study shows half of patients treated with topiramate had a 50-percent reduction in the frequency of their migraines, more than 25 percent had a more than 75-percent reduction in headaches, and migraines were completely eliminated in 6 percent of the patients.
They say another promising treatment may be an injection of botulinum toxin, which has recently shown to be an effective preventive therapy for migraines.
Specialists say, " Hopefully, we can relieve the pain and suffering of people everywhere with new treatments and discoveries."