A Very Special “Skin Patch” for Migraine

If you’re going to pay for a medication for headache or migraine, you want to get the most for your money, right?  You want it to actually get into your system, at the right time, in the right amount.

It’s not easy to do.  Sometimes different brands vary slightly.  Migraineurs have issues such as gastric stasis that can keep medication from being effective.  Even the time of day or the food/drink you take your medicine with can make a difference.

But one thing that makes a big difference is how the medication is delivered.  Are you taking a pill?  Injection?

But now there are other options, and more are coming.

For example, there are needle-free injections of various kinds (one of these is what we’re going to talk about).

Then there are nasal spays/inhalers.  These are also quick, relatively painless, and they can get more medication in your system faster than a pill would.

Injections and nasal sprays are the most popular non-pill options for migraine, but they have their problems.  In the case of nasal sprays, some of the medication still ends up being swallowed, taking the "non-efficient" route.  And we know the problem with injections – we don’t like them!  (Many migraineurs experience general increased sensitivity to pain – and they want us to inject ourselves at this stage?!)

Migraine Medicine via Your Skin

So one of the new systems being investigated is the patch on the skin, or the transdermal patch.

This is a very special patch, though.  Containing a tiny microprocessor, it actually delivers the medicine using an electical impulse.  The patch is "activated", then it stays active for several hours.  This is known as Iontophoretic delivery.

The result is an easy and very exact delivery of medication.

A recent report from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA, confirmed that the studies with sumatriptan (Imitrex, Imigran) are very positive so far.  Because of the improved delivery, many patients also seem to avoid the side effects that come with sumatriptan injections.

The iontophoretic system is already in use for some medications, commonly anti-inflammatories and narcotic analgesics.

Is this the wave of the future in migraine abortive medication?  So far it looks like there are a lot of advantages to this system.  The challenge will be getting companies, doctors and patients to buy into the idea.

What do these patches look like?

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