New research is confirming the benefits of a medication that can fight episodic migraine. It might be just the thing to try if you haven’t had success with the medications your doctor has prescribed up to this point.
Many migraine patients are familiar with Toradol, or ketorolac tromethamine. Ketorolac is actually one of the top recommended drugs to give a migraine patient in emergency. It’s low on side effects and high on effectiveness.
Today, ketorolac is available as a nasal spray – perfect for those trying to avoid injections but who still want something that’s fast-acting. The nasal spray is commonly sold under the brand name Sprix.
But how does this medication compare to migraine-specific medications, such as the ever-popular sumatriptan?
A study in the journal Headache this past February attempted to answer the question, pitting ketorolac nasal spray against sumatriptan nasal spray.
In a double-blind study of 72 randomized participants were treated for 152 migraine attacks.
The results? Ketorolac was every bit as good as sumatriptan – in fact, in some ways it had the edge. The pain relief seemed to last longer, and ketorolac was better at fighting nausea. It also helped fight photophobia, that painful sensitivity to light that many migraine patients experience.
More good news – none of the patients, taking either of the two medications, withdrew from the study due to side effects.
These things make a nasal spray such as Sprix very attractive for those with episodic migraine.
However, ketorolac is not recommended for chronic migraine. It is intended for very occasional use. There are cardiovascular and gostrointestinal risks if the medication is taken frequently, or if it’s taken constantly for more than a few days (read more here). For migraine patients who already may be at increased risk in these areas, frequent use of ketorolac should be avoided.
But those with episodic, or more occasional, migraine still face another hurdle. This medication can be very expensive. However, Dr. Alexander Mauskop from the New York Headache Clinic has an excellent suggestion to save money. He writes:
The main problem with intranasal ketorolac is its cost. On GoodRx.com the price of 5 vials of Sprix (with a coupon) is about $1,000. Each vial is good for one day of use; it contains 8 sprays (15 mg each) and the usual dose is one spray into each nostril, repeated every 6 hours as needed. However, there is a way around the cost of this medication. Ten 30 mg vials of generic ketorolac for injections cost $15. You just need to buy a nasal spray bottle, empty the contents of the vial into it and use it as needed.
Check with your doctor and your insurance company to confirm which option is best for you.
To read the ketorolac vs. sumatriptan study results, visit A Randomized Trial of Ketorolac vs Sumatripan vs Placebo Nasal Spray (KSPN) for Acute Migraine