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U.K. migraine study examines treatment options, trends


NEW YORK Many people with migraines don’t seek help, while doctors overlook the condition in 40 percent of men and 50 percent of women who do visit their physicians, BBC News reported Tuesday.

At the same time, 15 percent of patients in the U.S. take drugs to prevent the often debilitating headaches, when nearly half of all patients could benefit. About 20 percent of patients taking Topiramate experience cognitive problems, while triptans, which change the chemistry of the brain, increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in some patients by constricting blood vessels.

Migraines affect 15 percent of the population, but are more common in women than in men. They are linked to genetics and menstrual cycles and, according to the World Health Organization, can be as debilitating as psychotic disorders or quadriplegia in their most severe form.

New drugs, however, are being developed to ease migraine symptoms—and these new medications do not constrict the blood vessels, the BBC reported. They drugs work by blocking a calcitonin gene-related peptide which is found at higher levels in the brains of people with migraine. Results of the trials of the latest of these drugs suggest that not only are they safer than currently available alternatives, they double the chances that a patient will stay headache-free for at least 24 hours.

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