Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Overuse Of Narcotics And Barbiturates May Make Migraine Attacks More Frequent

Date:
November 25, 2008
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Summary:
Scientists have determined that certain commonly-prescribed medications may have the unintended consequence of increasing the frequency of migraine attacks.

Certain commonly-prescribed medications may have the unintended consequence of increasing the frequency of migraine attacks.
Credit: iStockphoto

A team of researchers led by investigators at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has determined that certain commonly-prescribed medications may have the unintended consequence of increasing the frequency of migraine attacks. This important finding could alter the way doctors prescribe migraine medicines.

In a recent article published in the journal Headache, the Einstein-led study of more than 8,000 migraine sufferers nationwide, found that the use of medications containing barbiturates or narcotics — which relieve migraine short-term — may make migraine worse if these medications are overused. Treatment with these classes of medicines was associated with an increased risk of transformed migraine (TM) headaches, a form of migraine characterized by 15 or more days of headache per month.

The finding is significant because 35 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches and an additional 5 million suffer from transformed migraine. Migraine symptoms include throbbing head pain, most commonly on one side. The pain can worsen with physical activity. Attacks most commonly last from 4 to 72 hours, but may persist for longer. More severe attacks are overwhelming and hinder daily activities. In addition to personal suffering, lost labor costs in the U.S. due to migraine are in excess of $13 billion per year according to an earlier study from the Einstein team.

Principal investigator and senior author of the study, Richard Lipton, M.D. noted, "This confirms the longstanding feeling among many doctors that certain medications used to treat migraine may increase the frequency of headaches if overused. These findings have important public health implications." Dr. Lipton is professor and vice chair of neurology at Einstein and also directs the Montefiore Headache Center.

The objective of the study was to assess the role of specific classes of acute medications in the development of transformed migraine (TM) in people with episodic migraine (EM). In the study, 8,219 people with episodic migraine were followed for one year; 2.5% developed chronic migraine (TM) over the course of the year. The use of commonly prescribed medications, particularly narcotics (such as acetaminophen with codeine or Percocet), or barbiturates (such as Fiorinal, Fioricet and Esgic) were associated with a dose-dependent increased risk of new onset of chronic migraine (TM). That means episodic or occasional migraine sufferers who took narcotics or barbiturates more frequently were more likely to develop transformed migraine.

Conversely, for those study participants that suffered less than 10 headaches per month (EM sufferers), a class of drugs called triptans — known to relieve migraine — did not increase the risk of transformed migraine. NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, for example) were protective against transition to TM for those suffering less than 10 headache days per month, but were associated with increased risk of transition to TM for those with high levels of monthly headache days.

"Proper treatment with the appropriate medicines can bring relief to most people with migraine," said Dr. Lipton. "Primary care practitioners and patients should try to avoid the use of narcotic or barbiturate medications that may exacerbate migraine; if these drugs are necessary, patients should be advised of the risks of medication overuse and dose limits should be applied."

The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study is funded through a research grant to the National Headache Foundation from Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc., Titusville, New Jersey. The study won the 2008 Harold Wolff Award for excellence in headache research, a prize given by the American Headache Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Overuse Of Narcotics And Barbiturates May Make Migraine Attacks More Frequent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119092941.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. (2008, November 25). Overuse Of Narcotics And Barbiturates May Make Migraine Attacks More Frequent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119092941.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Overuse Of Narcotics And Barbiturates May Make Migraine Attacks More Frequent." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119092941.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins