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  • A hope and promise for sufferers of migraine

    Author: AAP

A leading neurologist says there is plenty of hope and promise for sufferers of migraine, with new exciting preventative medications in the pipeline.

Migraine sufferers could have access to some "exciting" new targeted therapies by mid next year, says an Australian neurologist.

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Headache and migraine affects an estimated five million people.

Unfortunately, there isn't "very good" pharmaceutical treatments at present for chronic migraine - a complex neurological syndrome - that causes "nasty" and "invisible" suffering, says Professor Tissa Wijeratne, chair of the Department of Neurology at Western Health in Melbourne.

Having recently attended the 18th Congress of the International Headache Society, Prof Wijeratne says there is a lot of hope and promise for better therapies.


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"There is a lot of exciting treatments that are going to be available at our doorstep very soon," Prof Wijeratne told AAP.

"None of the medications that we have thus far have actually been designed to act against migraine. They are either anti-epileptic drugs or drugs that were manufactured to treat depression or blood pressure.

"But in the last couple of years clinical trials have come out which will help us to have a bunch of medications to treat migraine which are actually designed for migraine. For the first time we will have some medications that were actually designed to treat migraine."

One of the new medication targets a small peptide - known as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) - which has been heavily associated with the origins of migraine, Prof Wijeratne says.

The new class of precisely-engineered migraine preventive drugs have been cleared for the final phase of clinical trials.

Migraine is more than just a "big headache". People with migraines can lose their vision and even lose function of their arms and legs.

Symptoms during a migraine attack include pain on one side or both sides of the head, sensitivity to light and sounds, nausea, blurred vision and light-headedness.

It is possible, however, to live well with migraine without medication, says Prof Wijeratne.

He says keeping hydrated is vital.

"We must drink about three litres of water every day," he said.

His other tips to avoid migraine include getting proper sleep, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet and keeping the mind silent.


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