Our patients are required to agree to consult their prescribing physician regarding starting, stopping, or changing dosage of medication.
We do not comment on pharmaceuticals (except as an historical perspective.)
Any condition that has been prevalent in society will have a long history of attempts to alleviate the symptoms. Upset stomach, constipation, and acne may be the only conditions which rival headaches for attempted remedies. Many are sincere attempts at relieving suffering; others can be nonsense or even risky.
Two categories of headache medications include preventative and abortive medication– one seeks to prevent headaches and the other tries to interrupt it.
Currently a family of drugs known as Triptans (i.e. Imitrex) appear to be the most popular.
Tried and true for years; a drug made from rye mold.
Ergotamine is an ergopeptine and part of the ergot family of alkaloids; it is structurally and biochemically closely related to ergoline. It possesses structural similarity to several neurotransmitters, and has biological activity as a vasoconstrictor (causes blood vessels to constrict.)
It is a natural product produced by the ergot fungus.
For readers who love information:
Ergotism is the name for sometimes severe pathological syndromes affecting humans or other animals that have ingested plant material containing ergot alkaloid, such as ergot-contaminated grains. The Hospital Brothers of St. Anthony, an order of monks established in 1095, specialized in treating ergotism victims with balms containing tranquilizing and circulation-stimulating plant extracts. The common name for ergotism is “St. Anthony’s Fire” in reference to this order of monks and the severe burning sensations in the limbs which was one of the symptoms. These are caused by effects of ergot alkaloids on the vascular system due to vasoconstriction, sometimes leading to gangrene and loss of limbs due to severely restricted blood circulation.
Image of St. Anthony’s Fire:
Powerpoint slideshow about Mycotoxins (poison from molds.)
Jump ahead to slide #8.
Botulinum toxin which is more popular by the trade name BOTOX. Some patients benefit with blocking of the occipital nerve (back of the skull) or by using a pacemaker implant – the occipital nerve stimulator. An alternative substance for quieting tight muscles includes injections of anesthetics such as lidocane.
Bad Medicine: A History of Narcotics in Pharmaceuticals
Ancient Egyptian Medicine:
This article cites the current status of migraine medication (written in 2005)
Lawrence D. Goldberg, MD, MBA
Migraine headache incurs estimated annual costs totaling as much as $17 billion in the United States. Most of the direct costs are for outpatient services: medications, office or clinic visits, emergency department visits, laboratory and diagnostic services, and management of treatment side effects. Indirect costs from lost productivity in the workplace add substantially to the total. The triptan class of drugs, used for abortive treatment, account for the greatest portion of medication costs. Because these agents are expensive, optimal use is critical. Research suggests that a stratified care strategy, with initial therapy based on the patient’s score on the Migraine Disability Assessment Scale, is both clinically advantageous and more cost-effective than stepped-care strategies. Also, the triptans are not interchangeable, and costs as well as clinical outcomes may vary with different agents in this class. Migraine prophylaxis is aimed at preventing frequent attacks and the development of a long-term condition that often incurs heavy costs for abortive treatment, diagnostic services, and medical care. Agents approved for migraine prophylaxis include the antiepileptics divalproex and topiramate and the beta blockers propranolol and timolol. As with abortive therapy, costs vary widely among these prophylactic agents. A novel approach to migraine prophylaxis is injection of botulinum toxin. A cost-analysis model is presented to show the impact of utilizing botulinum toxin in a large managed care system.
(Am J Manag Care. 2005;11:S62-S67)
– See more at: http://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2005/2005-06-vol11-n2suppl/jun05-2069ps62-s67/#sthash.H8OgbJVd.dpuf