For those who do not suffer from migraine headaches or have never had one, understanding the agony sufferers’ bear is not possible. No amount of description can adequately explain the pain, dizziness, lack of focus, even delirium that migraines can cause. For migraine sufferers, finding a guaranteed cure other than excruciatingly waiting it out has proven elusive.
This is because scientists & doctors still do not have a fail-safe hold on what causes migraines. Initially, it was thought that migraines were figments of imagination – even mental illness was suspected as a cause. With time, the medical community came to believe that they were cause just by swollen blood vessels pressing nerves.
The drugs used to beat these types of migraines caused the dilated blood vessels to constrict. This removed pressure from the nerves & stopped the pain. Unfortunately, they were not always successful & often did not create a permanent cure – leading scientists to look for a more encompassing cause of migraines & to search to treat the pain at its source.
What the scientists found surprised 😮 them. Instead of just one cause (swollen blood vessels pushing on nerves), they found that migraines are caused by a cornucopia of reasons including chemical & electrical reactions affecting blood vessels as well flow of powerful neurochemicals. According to researchers, the neurotransmitter serotonin was a main component of the subject’s migraines. As such, the pharmacologists created a drug that interacted with serotonin & hindered the migraine chemistry (example sumatriptan or brand name Imitrex).
Future generations of this class of drugs evolved & eventually auxiliary symptoms of migraines were included in the medical mix, including nauseasness, vomiting, & sensitivity to light. The result was a newer class of drugs, released in the mid-nineties called “Triptans.” The initial side effects of Triptans included , tingling, a warm sensation, & a light feeling of pressure in the chest.
Are Triptans effective? That depends on who you ask. With some, they are a God-send. With others, they help, but not completely. Still with others, they have no affect at all.
Additionally, because of the chest pressure existing in some patients, Triptans are not normally prescribed for individual persons with heart conditions or a higher risk of stroke. As noted, Triptans do not always work with every migraine sufferer. This has led scientists to look into migraines even more & new discoveries have begun to yield new hope to sufferers who have the thorniest types of headaches.
One benefit of Triptans is that they come in pill form when usual treatments of migraines were primarily injections. Since sumatriptan was developed, other more advanced varieties of triptans have followed suit. For instance, naratriptan (Amerge), Zolmitriptan (Zomig), & rizatriptan (Maxalt) are prime examples.
Triptans do not work for everyone. For all those who do, Triptans are truly a miracle drug. Working with your physician if you suffer from migraines will allow you to determine if Triptans are right for you & if they are the type of treatment you need.
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