To Your Good Health
Paul G. Donohue, M.D.
Aura Heralds Some
DEAR DR. DONOHUE:
My grandson has had severe migraine headaches
since age 6. He is now 18. Two years ago, the
doctor prescribed sumatriptan (Imitrex). My
grandson knows a headache is about to start when
he sees bright spots. He usually also throws up.
Do you think a migraine condition should last for
12 years? Is sumatriptan safe? J.S.
ANSWER: Close to
15 percent of the female population and 6 percent
of the male population suffer from migraine
headaches. They are severely painful, pulsating,
one-sided headaches. Almost all migraine patients
feel sick to their stomach when one comes on, and
many throw up. Bright lights and loud sounds
torment a person with a migraine. The headache
lasts from 4 to 72 hours.
A few migraineurs,
like your grandson, have an aura before the
headache begins. One common kind of aura is an
enlarging black spot with flashing edges.
should look for migraine triggers. Alcohol (red
wine in particular), luncheon meats like hot
dogs, chocolate, aged cheeses, perfume and too
little or too much sleep can bring on these
reached a milestone with the arrival of triptan
medicines. Sumatriptan (Imitrex) was the first
one of these wonder drugs to make it to the
market. They are safe medicines that have been a
boon for people whose lives have been devastated
by migraine headaches. Long-term use is approved,
but no headache medicine should be used on a
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Q: I have a large
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According to the author, the Edwin M. Knowles
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