At the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association in September, a surprising and disturbing study got a lot of notice. It was all about the prescription of triptan medications.
The study included 120,000 migraine patients. Now, triptans are not recommended for those with certain types of heart disease. Did doctors follow this recommendation?
The surprising result was that 1 in 5 patients with heart disease was prescribed a triptan medication!
That’s right, 1 in 5. Why? Did the doctor not know about the patient’s medical history? Was the doctor not aware of the dangers triptans pose to these patients?
Triptans can narrow blood vessels by 10-20%, and those of you with experience with heart disease know just how dangerous that can be.
Not only should your doctor know your medical history, she should also know your risk of heart disease. If you know you have multiple risk factors, even if you’ve never had problems with heart disease, you should think twice about taking triptan medications.
Dr. Arthur Elkind, president of the National Headache Foundation board of directors, particularly notes that you should be aware of elevated lipid levels, hypertension, a history of smoking, history of angina pectoris, and heart attack.
Though triptans are considered generally safe for most migraineurs, there is a lack of care being taken for patients who are at risk.