What Should Work, What Might: Migraine Meds Reassessed


New Studies Re-assesses Migraine Drug Efficacies (1)

Efficacy of migraine drugs was under another new review from researchers who have examined all of the scientific literature available on the treatment as well as followed up on migraine patients and the scientists have come up with what in their view prove effective in acute cases of migraine. Besides these 2 criteria the study was also based on the depth of the published research done on the medications as well as the quantum of studies on them.

The conclusions of the new study at a glance are:

TRIPTANS – Sumatriptan, Zolmitriptan, Rizatriptan, Frovatriptan, Almotriptan, Naratriptan, Eletriptan, Avitriptan OPIOID – Codeine+Acetaminophen, Tramadaol+Acetaminophen
NSAID – Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen
OPIOID – Butorphanol Nasal Spray
Caffeine with NSAIDS

Findings of the study were published in the January 2015 issue of the medical journal Headache. As per Dr. Stephen Silberstein , professor of neurology and director of the Jefferson Headache Center of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, “We hope that this assessment of the efficacy of currently available migraine therapies helps patients and their physicians utilize treatments that are the most appropriate for them.” (2)

Based on the study criteria, drugs were thus rated as deemed effective (Level A), probably effective (Level B), possibly effective (Level C). For such medications where the proof was found either inadequate or gave such results which refutes the use of that medicine, was classified as Level U. For a drug to be classified as deemed effective or a Level A drug, the studies done on the drug must be supported by at least well-designed, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials.  (3)

The American Headache Society will soon be translating the research findings that will aid in providing evidence-based guidelines to clinical practice. In any case, doctors treating migraine patients must consider the individuals on a case to case basis keeping in view the drug side-effects, patient history, costs and drug efficacy.


  1. Image credit: Pills and Capsules – Stock Photo; freedigitalphotos.net; Web February 2015; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/pills-and-capsules-photo-p308698
  2. Study Rates Migraine Medications; WebMD.com; Web February 2015; http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/news/20150120/study-rates-migraine-medications
  3. American Headache Society Provides Updated Assessment of Medications to Treat Acute Migraine; Newswise.com; Web February 2015; http://www.newswise.com/articles/american-headache-society-provides-updated-assessment-of-medications-to-treat-acute-migraine

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Stop To Smell The ‘Lavender’: Being Pain-Free


Therapeutic Grade Lavender Essential Oil Proves More Effective Than Drugs In Treating Migraines (1)

Since real cures for migraines have not been found yet, migraineurs often make do with taking drugs on a long-term basis that tackle some but not all of the symptoms associated with a migraine episode. So the injections, patches, magnetic stimulators, pills, nasal delivery techniques address pain mitigation or at most one other symptom migraineurs experience during their intense episodes. As migraineurs are usually in for the long haul, their drug intake is also long term as is their experience with unnecessary medication side effects and that is why a lot of us start to explore natural options.

Lavender has long been used in the management of anxiety in natural, holistic and traditional medicines. For the first the first time the effect of therapeutic grade lavender oil was studied in the treatment of migraine pains. The study conducted by the Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Mashad University of Medical Sciences, Mashad, Iran. The report of the study was published in the online version of PubMed’s April 2012 issue. Abstract of the research details may be accessed (2)

A total of 47 participants who had been clinically diagnosed with migraine were studied. They were divided in two groups randomly – the case group and the control group.

The case group was instructed to apply 2-3 drops of therapeutic grade essential oil on their upper lip at the onset of migraine pain. They were to inhale the emanating vapours for 15 minutes and grade the severity of their migraine pain at intervals of 30 minutes for the next 2 hours.

The control group was given the very same instructions except that they were provided scented paraffin to apply to their upper lips for inhalation of vapours. Neither of the groups knew what they were being given in the unlabelled bottles.

The lavender group not only reported a 71% improvement in the severity of their symptoms, they also reported significantly fewer migraines than the placebo group. In other words, lavender helped migraine sufferers about three quarters of the time. (3)

Compared to the efficacy rates of high dose Tylenol at 50%, 57% for Ibuprofen and 59% for Imitrex, lavender oil scores beautifully over pharmaceutical drugs and comes with negligible side-effects if any at all compared to the drugs.

Lavender headache pillows stuffed with dried lavender petals and buds, lavender puches that may be embedded into scarves or tied to handkerchiefs may also be used to manage migraines. Other versatile ways of using lavender to counter migraines may be learnt at the Lavender Bee Farm website. (4)


  1. Image Credit: Lavender Bee Stock Photo; “Lavender Bee” by Simon Howden; Free Digital Photos; Web January 2014; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Flowers_g74-Lavender_Bee_p42074.html
  2. RESEARCH ABSTRACT: Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial; NBI Resources – Pub Med; Web January 2014; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517298
  3. Essential Lavender Oil: A Natural Solution for Migraines and Anxiety; Conscious Life News; Web January 2014; http://consciouslifenews.com/essential-lavender-oil-natural-solution-migraines-anxiety/#
  4. Lavender Therapy for Migraine Headaches; Lavender Bee FARM; Web Jaunuary 2014; http://www.lavenderbeefarm.com/headache.shtml

FOR VIDEO: Lavender for Migraine Headaches; Nutrition Facts; Web January 2014; http://nutritionfacts.org/video/lavender-for-migraine-headaches/

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New Guidelines from American Academy of Neurology On Reduction of Migraine Frequency

New guidelines or strategy if you will, have been chalked out and released by scientists at the American Academy of Neurology in conjunction with the American Headache Society on the approach migraineurs should take to reduce the frequency of their attacks. These guidelines have been released just this week and basically are a little different from the previous guidelines in terms that they reduce the ranking of certain migraine drugs (such as Verapamil and Gabapentin) which were highly recommended in the last guidelines due to evidence gathered against them. In addition, the new guidelines are based on evidence-based research on a larger population than were done for the last set of guidelines covering various demographics – gender, races etc. (1)

Want Fewer Migraine Attacks? Follow a Preventative Regimen Everyday (2)

As per the neurologists, almost 38% of all migraineurs should follow a preventative strategy to reduce the number of their migraine episodes. But only a third of that percentage followed a daily preventative regimen with the rest of them only resorting to band aid approaches and tackling the pain once they are in the throes of a migraine attack or are expecting one within a few hours. The approaches they often took were such as were not proven effective in scientific testing before.

According to Mark Green, MD, director of the Headache Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York, “What the guidelines do is pinpoint first-line treatments based on evidence and effectiveness.  If these guidelines are used widely, we will be able to up the odds of reducing headaches by 50 percent. Moreover, the stakes may be high if we undertreat migraines. Evidence is building to suggest that if we allow migraines to progress, the frequency of attacks may increase, and they may also become harder to treat” (3)

Here’s a quick look at what the evidence-based preventative guidelines suggests to migraineurs:

  1. First line prescription drugs must be taken on a daily basis to bring down the number and intensity of the attacks.
  2. Effective For Prevention: Anti-seizure medications Divalproex sodium, Sodium valproate, Topiramate, Metoprolol, Propranol, Tumolol.
  3. Effective Herbal Preparations: Butterbur / Petasites.
  4. Probably Effective: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS such as Fenoprofen, Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen, Naproxen, Naproxen Sodium, Subcutaneous histamine, Complementary treatments, Magnesium, Riboflavin, Feverfew.
  5. Found Not Effective: Anti-seizure drug lamotrigine was not effective in preventing migraine.


  1. New Guidelines Assert That Daily Preventive Therapies Significantly Reduce Migraines; Newswise; April 2012; http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/588495/?sc=rsmn&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NewswiseMednews+%28Newswise%3A+MedNews%29
  2. Image by Ambro; Freedigitalphotos.net; April 2012; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1499
  3. New Guidelines: Treatments Can Help Prevent Migraine; American Academy of Neurology (AAN); April 2012; http://www.aan.com/press/index.cfm?fuseaction=release.view&release=1062

Video of the 2012 AAN Conference may be accessed at:

  1. 2012 AAN Press Conference: New Guidelines on Preventing Migraine Headache; YouTube.com; April 2012; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoKPwq9JcKE&feature=g-upl&context=G2423319AUAAAAAAAAAA

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