Frovatriptan May Offer Longer Relief From Migraine Pain
Throbbing pain, nausea, and intense sensitivity to light and sound: people who suffer from ]]>migraine headaches]]> are all too familiar with these symptoms. ]]>Frova]]> (frovatriptan succinate) is a medicine approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for acute treatment of migraine attacks with or without "aura" in adults.
How It Works
Frovatriptan is of the triptan class of drugs. Other triptans are currently used to treat migraine headaches. However, frovatriptan has a much longer half-life than the other triptans: 26 hours vs. 6 hours. This means that frovatriptan stays in the bloodstream for 20 hours longer than the other drugs.
The theory regarding the origins of a migraine headache has been debated for years. Currently, the most plausible explanation seems to come from neurovascular theory, which suggests that headache is a result of activation of the trigeminal nerve, one of the cranial nerves. Some experts believe that the headache is related to sudden widening of blood vessels. Frovatriptan works by decreasing swelling of the blood vessels in the brain that cause the migraine headache.
Frovatriptan tablets should be taken with fluids as soon as a migraine hits. If it doesn't bring adequate pain relief after two hours, a second dose can be taken. Do not take more than three tablets in 24 hours.
From the Labs
Five clinical trials including more than 4,000 volunteers examined the effects of frovatriptan on migraine pain. In all five studies, the percentage of people reporting some relief of headache pain within two hours of taking medication was greater in the group receiving frovatriptan than in the group given the placebo. In addition, less than half of people taking frovatriptan needed additional medication (such as aspirin) to help stop the pain.
Frovatriptan appears to have a low incidence of side effects. These may include:
- Tingling or prickling sensation
- Hot flashes
- Dry mouth
- Hot or cold sensation
- Chest pain
- Skeletal pain
People with certain conditions should not take frovatriptan; these include:
- Uncontrolled ]]>high blood pressure]]>
- Heart disease
- Hemiplegic or basilar migraine
- History of ]]>stroke]]>
- Circulation problems
A life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can happen when triptans, such as frovatriptan, and medicines used to treat ]]>depression]]> called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used together. If you are taking SSRIs, make sure you let your physician know.
Signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome include the following:
- Loss of coordination
- Fast heart beat
- Increased body temperature
- Fast changes in blood pressure
- Overactive reflexes
American Council for Headache Education
United States Food and Drug Administration
EBSCO Health Library. Frovatriptan. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=15&topicID=81. Published April 7, 2005. Updated December 12, 2009. Accessed June 16, 2010.
Last reviewed June 2010 by ]]>Brian Randall, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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