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Overuse of narcotics and barbiturates may make migraine worse
Date:11/19/2008

in the development of transformed or chronic migraine (TM) in people with episodic migraine (EM). In the study, 8,219 people with episodic migraine were followed for one year; 2.5% developed TM over the course of the year. The use of commonly prescribed medications, particularly narcotics (such as acetaminophen with codeine or Percocet), or barbiturates (such as Fiorinal, Fioricet and Esgic) were associated with a dose-dependent increased risk of new onset of TM. That means episodic or occasional migraine sufferers who took narcotics or barbiturates more frequently were more likely to develop TM.

Conversely, for those study participants that suffered less than 10 headaches per month (EM sufferers), a class of drugs called triptans known to relieve migraine did not increase the risk of transformed migraine. NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, for example) were protective against transition to TM for those suffering less than 10 headache days per month, but were associated with increased risk of transition to TM for those with high levels of monthly headache days.

"Proper treatment with the appropriate medicines can bring relief to most people with migraine," said Dr. Lipton. "Primary care practitioners and patients should try to avoid the use of narcotic or barbiturate medications that may exacerbate migraine; if these drugs are necessary, patients should be advised of the risks of medication overuse and dose limits should be applied."


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Contact: Michael Heller
mheller@aecom.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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