For many millions of individuals who suffer with migraines finding an effective remedy has been difficult and has taken a substantial time. Even after years of study there’s absolutely no miracle cure, but a new class of drugs called triptans are as close to a miracle cure as we’ve come for these often intensely painful headaches that could strike at any moment.
The triptans are a sort of drug that’s chemically similar to serotonin, which is itself a neurotransmitter that’s thought to play a role in causing migraines. Like many drug treatments, success often comes from developing a compound that’s chemically similar to a naturally occurring compound in the human body and using this to increase levels in the body at times when symptoms arise. In this case triptans attach themselves to receptors in which the body’s natural biochemical would usually be discovered, but behaviour slightly differently to relieve symptoms.
Technically triptans are in a class of drugs called 5-HT1B/1D agonists. Although these new medications have been proven to be effective in many cases of migraine there are some studies that suggest they are more effective for migraine sufferers who lack skin sensitivity. For those men and women who do experience skin sensitivity through an attack triptans may continue to be successful, but they ought to be taken as soon as possible following the onset of a migraine and preferably within no longer than about 20 minutes after the appearance of symptoms. Oftentimes migraine sufferers experience what’s called an ‘aura’ before the onset of the headache and this isn’t just the warning sign of an approaching headache but also the cue to begin treatment.
Gut zu wissen
Although not all victims will experience a feeling for the ones that do it varies widely but is basically a visual disturbance consisting of such things as viewing spots or flashing lights. Triptan drugs were first introduced during the 1990s and there are now various diverse kinds of these drugs available under an assortment of different commercial names.
One quite common treatment is sumatriptan, which is sold under the brand name of Imitrex. This first generation of medication proved very powerful but still didn’t quite do the trick in addition to physicians would have desired and so now we see another generation of more effective triptans. These include zolmitriptan (marketed as Zomig) and rizatriptan (marketed as Maxalt). These next generation drugs are often known as ‘aborters’ or ‘interrupters’ since they are intended to prevent a migraine in its early stages and until it builds into the intense and pulsating pain that’s so familiar to migraine sufferers.
Second generation triptans are favored by many victims because they don’t need to be obtained before the coming of the headache, which can be tricky to predict as symptoms aren’t always very pronounced. Additionally, they are effective for a longer time period, which is also essential for those people whose migraines can last for days as opposed to hours. Triptans can also help relieve or remove other migraine symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
One other problem that’s often present with conventional medications taken in pill form is they require you to have water on hand to take the pill and take time to function since the pill is broken down and absorbed into the blood. Many of the new triptans however, such as rizatriptan (advertised as Maxalt), can be found in a wafer form which only dissolves on the tongue and drugs are now available in the form of nasal sprays that are very fast acting.