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HeadWay, Issue #086 -- Treatment Trends 2
March 25, 2011

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In this month's issue:

Treatment Trends You Need To Know About (part 2)

Recently at Headache and Migraine News...

Say what?!  Antagonists

Once again, some of you may have been wondering if another edition of HeadWay was ever going to arrive!  On a personal note, our family has been dealing with a number of health-related issues, so life has been a bit out of control lately.  Thanks for your patience, and I hope this edition is useful to you all!

Treatment Trends You Need To Know About (part 2)

We're continuing our series on treatment trends you need to be aware of as research continues to move forward.  Changes are happening so fast, it's easy to miss some key things that could lead you to far better treatment.

Last time we talked about: The death of the vasodilation theory of migraine, the development of better drug delivery, the use of a variety of treatments together, promise and disappointment in the field of genetics, and specialized, personalized treatments.  Read the last issue here.

Now, here are a few more to consider...

1) Growing focus on differing symptoms:  Researchers, doctors and specialists are becoming more and more interested in finding different treatments for people with different symptoms.  This doesn't just mean they're treating the symptoms, but that they're recognizing that people with different symptoms need different treatments.

In the old days, a headache was a headache.  Or, perhaps, there was the sick headache (that we now call migraine).  But now we talk about many, many different types of headache and migraine.  In years to come we may recognize some of these as very different diseases.  Meanwhile, we want to know if some treatments work better with certain types of headache.

What does this mean to me?  It's very important to keep track of symptoms, as we become aware of them.  Those clues will become more and more important as the years go by and research progresses.

2) New Targets in Migraine Treatment:  As we learn more and more about the migraine chain-reaction, we're discovering new ways that we might be able to break it in the middle.  That means that there are new treatments being developed that are totally different than what has come before.  These include studies into the 5-HT or serotonin receptors, calcitonin gene related peptide antagonists, treatments focused on the glutaminergic system (glutamate) and gap junction inhibitors.

Of course, we're only at the beginning of a new era of research, and it's taking time.  Some of the many possible treatments just may not be viable for one reason or another, and others will probably be years in development.  Still, look for more and more unique treatments, especially for those who haven't responded to more common treatments.

3) Epilepsy treatment for Migraine:  This isn't a surprise for many people who have recently had treatment for migraine.  Still, it's a relatively new and growing trend.  If you're new to migraine treatment, you might be surprised when your doctor offers you an anti-convulsant as a treatment.  But it's not uncommmon.  Some well known examples are valproic acid (Depakote), valproate sodium (Depacon), topiramate (Topamax), gabapentin (Neurontin), levetiracetam (Keppra), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal).

These types of drugs have helped many migraineurs cut down on their attacks.  But, often due to side effects, none of them has become the magical super-migraine treatment that many are hoping for.

4) A growing number of non-drug treatments that work:  There are more and more non-drug treatments that are proving to be powerful migraine fighters.  These include supplements like magnesium and natural products like MigreLief and Foreverwell, traditional alternative treatments, treatments like biofeedback, and even products developed by health professionals such as the NTI-tss device and the SootheAway Continuous Thermal Therapy Device.  More and more doctors and patients are realizing that these are not just fill-ins when drugs aren't an option, but viable, real alternatives or compliments.

5) Grassroots movements to find answers:  For years there have been websites, forums, chat rooms, support groups - and many times these are valuable.  Sometimes they're opportunities to share misinformation.  But in recent months, in my opinion, there have been increasingly serious grassroots movements to find real answers.  Patients are becoming more educated.  They're helping one another.  They're putting their money where their mouth is, and giving to migraine research.  The patients and the professionals are, more than ever, working together to find answers.

Recently at Headache and Migraine News...

Here are some of the topics you won't want to miss from the past few weeks...

Say what?!  Antagonists

Actually, there are several definitions for the word antagonist.  But when we talk about drugs, an antagonist basically stops another substance from working, or being effective.  A drug may bind to a cell receptor without causing it to respond, thus blocking other substances that could cause it to respond.  Kind of like being stuck in a conversation your manager at the office party, when that good-looking coworker is only a few feet away with no one to talk to...

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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