Stopping your next migraine may be as easy as slapping on a patch. According to researchers at the Jefferson Headache Center in Philadelphia, a newly-developed patch can quash migraines and keep nausea in check.
Researchers gave 800 migraine sufferers one of two patches: a medicated patch called Zecurity, or a placebo. The results: 53 percent of people on the Zecurity patch had some headache relief after 2 hours, compared to only 29 percent of those who used the placebo. What’s more, the Zecurity patch relieved nausea in 84 percent of people.
How does it work? The patch uses electricity to painlessly drive standard anti-migraine medication into your skin, says Sonu Ahluwalia, M.D., Clinical Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The medication (sumatriptan) is positively charged and tries to reach the negative side of the patch—but it has to go through your body, pushing the drugs into your bloodstream. Meanwhile, a small battery and computer chip regulate the charge to make sure you’re getting the right dosage.
The advantage: “People who suffer from migraines almost always have nausea associated with it,” Dr. Ahluwalia says, “so it’s difficult for them to take pills.” Up until this point, the only alternative option was to take a shot, but now the patch offers a solution that won’t upset your stomach and aggravate your symptoms. And because the patch comes loaded with the usual anti-migraine meds, you can expect it to work as well as the pills, Dr. Ahluwalia says.
The Food and Drug Administration just approved the sale of Zecurity, so you’ll be able to purchase the patch from your pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription within a few months, Dr. Dr. Ahluwalia says. The prime target: people whose migraines are accompanied by nausea and don’t find relief with the pills. Instead of struggling—and failing—to down the medication, you’ll simply slap on the patch at the sign of any symptoms, he says.
Until then, your best anti-migraine move is to enter a dark room when you feel the pain coming on. “Turn the lights off. Try to relax, and just get through the period,” Dr. Ahluwalia says. And if you experience frequent headaches, check in with your doctor—you might suffer from migraines without even knowing it. Between 30 to 40 percent of people don’t experience the classic migraine symptoms, including light sensitivity and vomiting, he says.
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