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Survey: Migraine Patients Taking Potentially Addictive Barbiturate,or Opioid Medications Not Approved by FDA as Migraine Treatments

constricts blood vessels, thereby alleviating the symptoms of migraines such as pain, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

Although barbiturates and opioids are considered effective for short-term migraine relief, many doctors recommend against prescribing them for long-term use because of the potential for addiction and abuse.

    Physicians responding to the survey said that more of their patients

taking opioids or barbiturates experience drug-related side effects than their

patients taking triptans:


                                    Barbiturates      Opioids         Triptans

    Drowsiness/sleepiness               74 %            84 %             22 %

    Fatigue                             60 %            64 %             13 %

    Confusion                           55 %            70 %             12 %

    Forgetfulness                       52 %            55 %              7 %

    Rebound headaches                   52 %            74 %             24 %


Eighty percent of physicians surveyed said they are "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with the side effects profile of triptans, compared with 17 percent who said the same about opioids and 12 percent who said the same about barbiturates.

The survey found that patients taking triptans are significantly more likely than those taking barbiturates or opioids to report that their medication works well at relieving migraine symptoms, with sixty percent of triptan patients reporting that it describes their medication "extremely" or "very" well to say it relieves their migraines symptoms completely compared with 42 percent of patients taking barbiturates and opioids.

Four out of five patients (82%) have taken more than one prescription medication for their migraines, the survey found. The average number of medications a patient has taken to treat migraines is four.

Patients taking opioids and barbiturates for their migraines also reported a lower quality
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