10 Highlights from the past 3 Months (August 2016 edition)

August will soon be coming to an end, so it’s time to see which posts have generated the most interest over the past three months. Here they are – the most popular first. The three in bold currently have the most “likes” on Facebook.

  1. “Coming Out” As A Migraine Sufferer (and why we don’t)
  2. Are You Taking These Common Medications (that could hurt your brain?)
  3. MUMS – Migraine and Arm Weakness
  4. Some more Bad Advice (for Migraine patients)
  5. Migraine Genetics – What if…?
  6. Migraine Treatment: Vestibular Rehabilitation
  7. Sore Muscles? The Migraine, Headache and Depression Connection
  8. Doctors: Use This Tool To Diagnose Chronic Migraine
  9. “Migraine Moment” Contest Winner – “This Day” (video)
  10. Medication Overuse Headache: Overrated?

Ubrogepant (another migraine drug in development)

The development of the new CGRP class of drugs (actually, calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists) is continuing. Last year, Allergan gained the rights to two such medications from Merck – MK-1602 and MK-8031.

Merck ran into trouble several years ago with another one of it’s CGRP receptor antagonists, called MK-0974 and later Telcagepant, because of concerns about liver toxicity.

The two other drugs, however, belong to a different “chemical series”, and so far there has been no evidence of liver problems with these.

Farthest along is MK-1602, also known as ubrogepant. Ubrogepant is just about to enter phase 3 trials.

Back in June, ubrogepant was featured at a meeting of the American Headache Society. The report posted online said:

Researchers at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine conducted a randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial of the efficacy of ubrogepant in treating a single migraine attack. Patients who received the study medication reported a reduction in headache severity from severe or moderate to mild or none within two hours. Ubrogepant is free of known cardiovascular risk and may provide an important treatment option for individuals who suffer from cardiovascular disease. This trial supports ubrogepant’s effectiveness and provides further evidence that CGRP receptor antagonists are viable options for the acute treatment of migraine.

In other words, ubrogepant is another hopeful in the world of CGRP drugs for migraine.

Allergan is about to begin trials and will be looking for adults with episodic migraine who are interested in participating. At time of writing they are not yet recruiting participants. However, if you’re interested and want more information, visit the clinical trials page here: Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Oral Ubrogepant in the Acute Treatment of Migraine


Some more Bad Advice (for Migraine patients)

Thanks! But no thanks.

Every once in a while it’s good to be reminded that a lot of the advice we’re given is, sadly, not worth a lot. Teri Robert, in her book Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches, gives these “great” examples:

  • “It’s all stress. Learn to relax.”
  • “Get pregnant. Your headaches will stop.”
  • “Have a hysterectomy. Your Migraines will go away.”
  • “Congratulations. You’re an intellectual and have Migraines. Take some acetaminophen.”
  • “Just wait for menopause. Then they’ll stop.”
  • “You’re too high-strung and have a headache personality. See a psychiatrist.”
  • “It’s a woman thing.”
  • “If triptans don’t work, it’s not a Migraine.”
  • “It’s just something you’ll have to learn to live with.”
  • “Just take a nap when you get a headache.”
  • “Stop taking everything so seriously.”

Ouch. In case we don’t believe it, Teri notes beside the fourth one on the list that she personally actually did have a doctor tell her that once!

Have you ever been told any of the above? Or do you have another not-so-brilliant piece of advice that you’ve been given? Share it in the comments.

Incidentally, you can read some good advice if you get Teri’s book, but she does remind us in this chapter that hitting the person who says something like this probably isn’t the best. Instead, “Politely tell the doctor that his or her services will no longer be needed, then leave.”

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Diet Changes to Fight Migraine and Headache? (poll results)

What changes have you made to your diet in order to fight migraine and/or headache?

That was a recent poll question here at Headache and Migraine News. As it turns out, 80% said that they had made some changes to their diet.

Of those, 64% said that they had made significant or major changes. Of those, 20% had made drastic changes, and had tried a very restrictive diet.

Here’s the breakdown:

Diet changes to fight headache and migraine?For information and resources, check out Migraine diet, which lists some common approaches. diet headache migraine: Simple and easy food choices gives a general list of some of the common offenders and possible headache-fighting foods. For more thoughts on diets, read Do “Migraine Diets” have this in Common?

Finally, check out The Headache and Diet connection, which has reviews of some popular migraine and headache fighting cookbooks.

Now, be sure to participate in our new poll!

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Wine & Headaches: Why We’re Still Confused.

Does red wine give you a headache? Some people certainly find that it does, but just why has been a recent conversation starter.

A Huffington Post article back in November (Why Red Wine Gives You A Headache (And What To Do About It)) tells the story of one person’s search for answers – and the answers turn out to be several possibly conflicting ideas. It must be sulfites, right? No, can’t be. Could our “perception” influence our headaches? Or maybe the histamines – or just plain higher alcohol content in certain wines. Should we only drink wine from thinner-skinned grapes?Alcohol, headaches and migraine

An then an article in June presented another confident headline – What’s really causing that red wine headache. Debbie Carlson of the Chicago Tribune confirmed the belief that sulfites are probably not to blame. After all, sulfites are common in dried fruit and salad bars – but how common is the “salad bar headache”? (Actually, there may be reasons why you hear about one and not the other – but we’ll leave that alone at the moment)

More likely culprits are tyramine and tannins, two villains that we’ve talk about before.

Tyramine is also common in aged cheese, making the wine and cheese combination a particular (potential) problem. Tannins are especially high in grape skin and seeds (once again hinting that thin-skin wines are a better option).

As with any migraine trigger, the connection ends up being very complex and different with every person.

Two studies done using the Curelator app showed a curious pattern. Yes, various types of alcohol certainly triggered migraine attacks in some people. But over 3x that number found that some type of alcohol was a “protector” – decreasing their chance of having an attack!

But again, the results aren’t so simple. Many people “relax” with a glass of wine or beer – and so there are many other factors involved beyond the alcohol. Time to relax itself could help avoid an attack.

On the other hand, one woman was interviewed who found sparkling wine to be a trigger. As it turns out, she only drank sparkling wine at formal events – no doubt different food, higher stress – perhaps different shoes – again, so many factors beyond just the alcohol.

We may still discover that certain chemical combinations in certain wines greatly increase your chance to have a migraine attack. But for now, the bottom line is that every person is different. Moderation, and watching your body’s reactions, will always be a good starting point. It’s far better to keep track and know your own body than to believe what “everyone” says should be your triggers.

Also see:
Getting a Headache right after Drinking Alcohol?

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