In people with migraine, cutaneous allodynia was more common in women, in those who had headaches more often, in people with a higher body mass index, and in those disabled or depressed.
The study was sponsored by the National Headache Foundation through a grant from Ortho-McNeil Neurologics Inc., a pharmaceutical company that makes Axert, a drug that's part of a class of medications known as triptans that are used to treat migraine in its acute stages, and Topamax, a preventive migraine medication. Bigal is currently an employee of Merck & Co., the maker of Maxalt, another triptan medication.
"This study highlights the importance of early treatment in migraine," according to Silverman, who was not involved in the research. He explained that by the time someone is experiencing cutaneous allodynia, triptan medications tend not to be as effective as when they're taken early on in a migraine.
"When you delay treating and don't take a triptan right away, it doesn't work as well. It gets harder and harder to get rid of," agreed Dr. Keith Siller, an assistant professor of neurology at New York University Medical Center in New York City.
He said this study's findings might help differentiate true migraines from other types of headaches, such as tension headaches, but that he wasn't familiar with the allodynia symptom checklist used in this study.
If you've been diagnosed with migraine and haven't found relief, Siller suggested seeing a neurologist, because there are preventive medications available.
To learn more about migraine, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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