TEMPLE, Texas (August 8, 2008) Oral contraceptives paired with other prescription drugs may reduce or even eliminate migraine headaches associated with menstrual periods, according to researchers at Scott & White.
To expand its research, Scott & White has begun recruiting participants for an eight-month study targeted at migraines that afflict women during their periods.
Some women suffer devastating headaches during their periods, said Dr. Patricia J. Sulak, the study's principal investigator, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Scott & White and professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.
By activating certain receptors in the brain, altering neurochemistry and dilation of blood vessels during a migraine, we may better control the severity of these headaches, she said. We are investigating how effective using a contraceptive pill may be to provide some relief to these women.
Menstrual migraine is common, occurring in about 10 percent of all women, affecting up to 10-15 million women in the United States. Researchers believe these headaches may be triggered by fluctuations in hormone levels, or declining hormone levels.
They tend to be more severe, longer-lasting, and less responsive to treatments than typical migraine headaches.
This study uses a medication called frovatriptan, in conjunction with an oral contraceptive.
Frovatriptan has traditionally been used to stop a migraine once it has started, but may also help to prevent migraine at specific times during menstrual cycle if given before the headache begins, said Dr. Jeffrey Clark, a neurologist and associate professor at Scott & White.
By combining continuous oral birth control pills with preventive frovatriptan we expect to significantly decrease headache frequency and severity in women with documented menstrual migraine.
Frovatriptan is a headache medication and common treatment for migraines that works, in part, by narrowing the blood vessels around the brain.
Frovatriptan also helps to reduce nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other migraine-related symptoms.
This study is looking for women 18-45 years old who have headaches around the time of their period.
Participants will receive at no cost FDA-approved medicines for headaches and a stipend. The study is expected to last about eight months.
Interested women may get more information on this study by calling 254-724-1350, or by sending a request by email to email@example.com
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