Entries in Migraine (4)


Migraine Sufferers Scramble for Relief After Excedrin Recall

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It was about six months ago when Erin Terjesen opened up her medicine cabinet and realized, to her horror, that she was out of the medication she relied on to keep her headaches from turning into full-blown migraines.

A few minutes later, she stumbled into her pharmacy to search for the medication -- Excedrin Migraine -- but learned there was none in stock.

Her pharmacist told her that the manufacturer, Novartis, had announced a massive recall of its Excedrin, No-Doz, Bufferin and Gas-X products on Jan. 8.

Six months later, store shelves are still Excedrin-free.  Novartis attributed the recall to problems at its Nebraska plant that could have led to contamination by other medications produced there.

In a statement, Novartis said it was "working very hard to return products to store shelves."  The company plans to restart production on a "line-by-line, product-by-product basis" to assure quality, and hopes to start restocking some products in the second half of the year.

There is no word yet on which of the recalled products will be manufactured first.

"The pharmacist recommended the store brand, but it made me super sick," Terjesen said.  "I wasn't sure if I got sick because the migraine was so advanced and the nausea was part of it, but I took it a few other times after that and it just doesn't work for me."

She's tried prescription medications that also don't work.  She does still take the generic brand, keeps caffeinated soda on hand and also tries nonmedical remedies such as keeping her feet elevated and using a wet towel over her eyes and head, but nothing works as well as Excedrin Migraine did.

And others feel the same.  Many migraine sufferers swear by their Excedrin Migraine.  Some openly pine for it on Twitter and Facebook.  Others are turning to eBay to scoop up whatever stock is available at hugely inflated prices.

Experts who specialize in headache treatment say there are few nonprescription medication choices available, but there are some alternatives that may work for some people.

One Excedrin Migraine pill consists of 250 milligrams of aspirin, 250 milligrams of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and 65 milligrams of caffeine.  A generic substitute could work just as well.

"If it has the same amount of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine, the ingredients in Excedrin, it should work just as well," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Editor.

The generic store-brand alternatives work for some people, but not for others.

Dr. Joel Saper, founder and director of the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute, said it may also help to simultaneously take each of the separate ingredients in approximately the same doses as what's contained in an Excedrin Migraine pill.  But taking the ingredients separately doesn't work for everyone, either.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FDA: Topamax Increases Risk of Babies Being Born with Oral Clefts

BananaStock/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- On Friday, The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that using the drug Topamax (topiramate) can increase the risk of babies being born with cleft lip and cleft palate.

The drug is used for the treatment of seizures in people who have epilepsy and also to prevent migraine headaches from occurring.

The FDA warning, which also extends to the generic versions of the drug, says that the increased risk applies to women who use the drug during pregnancy. The FDA is urging health care professionals to warn their patients who are of childbearing age about the potential hazard topiramate poses to the fetus if women use the drug while pregnant. Health professionals are also being urged to use alternative drugs that have a lower risk of birth defects.

According to a release by the FDA, oral clefts are birth defects that occur when parts of the lip or palate don't completely fuse together in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


CBS Reporter Suffered Complex Migraine, Not Stroke, Doctor Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images/File Photo(LOS ANGELES) -- A doctor who treated Serene Branson, the CBS Los Angeles reporter whose garbled live report from Sunday's Grammy awards had many wondering if she suffered a stroke on the air, said a complex migraine was to blame.

"Her description of the events is really entirely typical of complex migraine," said Dr. Andrew Charles, director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program in the UCLA Department of Neurology, who saw Branson Thursday morning.

A symptom of migraine aura is "dysphasic language dysfunction," in which people know what they want to say but they can't get the words out.  This is similar to aphasia, which can signal a stroke or a tumor.

"Imaging studies ruled out other kinds of problems like a stroke or primary brain event," Charles said.

Like a stroke, a complex migraine can disturb blood flow in the brain.  But the main event in a migraine is "a storm of brain activity" that causes "waves of change in brain function" that spread across the brain, Charles said.

"There are dramatic changes in blood flow, but in the case of migraine, the changes don't reach the point where they actually damage the brain," Charles said.  "There are no residual effects."

The video of the episode was to some upsetting to watch, as Branson's speech suddenly became slurred and incomprehensible.  She appeared increasingly aware that something was wrong during the broadcast.

Branson was examined shortly after the incident by paramedics on location. Her vital signs were normal and she was not hospitalized.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Botox May Not be Effective in Limiting Migraines

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON, U.K.) - Although Botox has been licensed as a preventative measure for chronic migraines, new research suggests that the treatment is "little help" for the pain.

The Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin says there is little evidence that the anti-wrinkle injections have a significant impact for migraine sufferers. Others, however, such as Migraine Action, say the option should be available to help block the pain.

"Anyone who suffers from chronic migraine knows that there is no cure, but for these patients, who are often quite disabled by their unremitting and remorseless pattern of headaches and migraines, any new treatment that helps them to get their lives back in control and to proactively manage their condition like Botox, gives them hope for a better future," said Migraine Action Director Lee Tomkins.

Although a previous trial of more than 1,300 patients showed that Botox was successful in reducing the number of headaches, the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin questions the results, saying Botox has been shown to worsen migraine symptoms in around one in 10 people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio