New nose spray quickly eases migraine

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LONDON - A pipe-like puffer device that blows powdered medicine up the nose could banish the pain of migraine in less than two hours.

The powder works quicker than conventional oral drugs, as you don’t have to wait for your body to digest it.

One of the downsides of conventional oral treatments is that they can take up to half-an-hour for the first signs of relief.

Trials of the new puffer show the drug reached the bloodstream in a few minutes - and nearly six out of 10 patients who tested it were completely pain-free after two hours, the Daily Mail reports.

The drug used is a powdered form of triptan - a medicine widely used in pill form to treat migraine. It is loaded into one end of the V-shaped puffer device which is inserted into a nostril - the other end of the device is put in the mouth.

When the patient exhales through the mouth, the powder is blown up the nostril. Here, it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream via tiny blood vessels just below the surface on the inside of the nose.

From there, it is quickly carried to the trigeminal nerve - one of the main nerves from the nose to the brain. The drug provides relief by blocking pain signals.

Triptan also appears to cause the blood vessels around the brain to contract - which is important as migraines are caused by the sudden dilation of these vessels, sometimes in response to triggers such as alcohol or stress.

In a trial of the new device (which was developed by OptiNose), 54 percent of men and women taking a 10 mg dose and 57 percent of those given a 20 mg dose did not have pain after just a couple of hours.

Andrew Dowson, chairman of Migraine Action’s medical advisory board, said: “This is very clever technology which is a new way of delivering an established migraine drug. It works more effectively and more quickly, and has fewer side effects.”

Filed under: Medicine, World

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