Monday, June 14, 2010

The Torment That Is Migraine

image by goroo,

Botox To The Rescue?

Those of us who suffer from the torment of migraine, or have seen some near or dear one being whacked by the scourge of this medical condition, can very well appreciate the extent to which the sufferer would be willing to go to ameliorate their condition. The throbbing, pulsating ache in one side of the head, often accompanied with nausea and vomiting, and in some cases intolerance to light and sound, is excruciatingly painful while the episodes last.

image by coscurro,

Found predominantly in females than in males, the condition has defied relief, not to talk of cure. Some prophylactic treatments work for some of the sufferers, but not for others. The prescribed oral medication does not work with every migraine attack. The only recourse to a sudden onset of the condition is often times to endure it and hope and pray that it will subside in the next moments. Medicos prescribe multiple drugs to manage the variable attacks; meanwhile life continues on the trial-and-error path.

image by dmoola,

What this translates to in simple terms for the migraine patient is time spent convalescing away from the fun and frolic that the other family members may be having. Picnics and outings have gotten canceled or postponed because one of the key members of the family got up from bed in the morning with a splitting headache that could not have been predicted in advance, putting paid to all arrangements. Marriage dates have had to be rescheduled because either the bride or the bridegroom - more often than not the bride - suffered an attack of migraine just as the wedding dress was being worn. A migraine-susceptible worker is always afraid of when the condition might strike next, and this drastically impacts their productivity at their place of work. These instances sound familiar? Well, the only comfort is that one is not alone.

image by ayleene,

In case it is of any help, there is a new research paper that reports the ameliorating effect of Botulinum Toxin Type A (BTX-A, or Botox) as prophylactic. Yes, the very same Botox that you use to remove the wrinkles on the face. BTX-A is interestingly the most toxic substance known to man, and yet it is used in treating muscle spasms and also for cosmetic procedures by the name of Botox. The US FDA has not approved the use of this drug in prophylactic treatment of migraine yet. However, the research paper I am alluding to has been published in the July 2010 issue of the journal "Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery", available here:, and describes a randomized clinical trial involving the drug conducted over a period of ninety days. One group of subjects was treated with 50mg daily of Amitriptyline (AM), and to another group of patients was administered a 250 U injection of BTX-A divided into fifteen specific points around the head. The incidence of migraine was found to have been reduced by at least half in about 68% of the BTX-A-treated patients, as compared to about 72% of the patients treated with Amitriptyline. The advantages of the BTX-A over Amitriptyline? One, BTX-A is not an anti-depressant, which Amitriptyline is. Two, BTX-A does not cause any of the side-effects that Amitriptyline is infamous for.

image by mikecco,

The authors of the paper suggest that BTX-A line of treatment is more effective for patients with frequent episodic migraines and chronic migraines than otherwise. The facts that BTX-A is more invasive (injections in specific locations of the head), and is also more expensive than pill-popping need to be noted, however. It is still early days to go gung-ho about Botox, but there is no harm in consulting your regular medico for their opinion.

image by forwardcom,

[When the going is good, we hardly give any thought to divinity. But come the hint of adversity, and we run to our religious symbols for succor. Sidestepping the controversies surrounding the precepts and dogmas of religion and theology, science has investigated the impact of prayers on an individual's health and state of mind. And the results startle even the most devout atheist. Read about the results here: When All Else Fails --- Pray!.]

image by lprbrenda,

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