New guidelines could provide relief for a lot of migraine sufferers. The
American Academy of Neurology is out with its list of which medications and
treatments can help prevent the debilitating headaches.
Jessica Rodriguez has been suffering from migraines since she was a teenager.
"Like a railroad train is running right through you -- it's really bad," she said.
She used to get them about five times a month, but as the mother of twin four
year-old boys, she couldn't afford to let the painful headaches slow her
down. "I used to shut down for a couple days but now I can't do that," she said
Rodriguez's doctors put her on a daily dose of Topamax to stop the migraines
before they start. It's part of new preventative guidelines from the American
Academy of Neurology.
"What we find when patients do go on these medications, it decreases the
frequency and often the severity as well by about 50-percent," said Dr. Larry
Newman with Roosevelt Hospital.
Along with Topiramate or Topamax, the guidelines say other seizure
medications like Divalproex sodium or Depakote can be used to prevent
migraines, as can certain beta-blockers, herbal products like Butterbur
and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, including ibuprofen and naproxen.
"What we think the medications do is that they dampen down the brain's
ability to generate the headache," Dr. Newman said.
An estimated 36 million Americans suffer from migraines. Preventative
measures would help about 40-percent who have them frequently, but very
few currently use them.
Experts caution even over-the-counter medications have side effects, so
consult your doctor before you start any treatment. Rodriguez says taking
Topamax has changed her life. "It really calmed my headaches a lot," she said.
Now she has more time and energy for her boys.
Bigad Shaban - CBS News
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