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Stiftung Warentest: What do migraine injections bring?
Millions of people in Germany suffer from migraines. Many patients can manage their symptoms relatively well with home remedies. But medication is also often used. The Stiftung Warentest has now examined in more detail which medicines help and what “migraine injections” bring.
Migraines have become a common disease
About ten to 15 percent of Germans suffer from migraines. Those affected can literally be put out of action by the disease. Throbbing, pounding and one-sided headaches are typical. Other complaints such as nausea and vomiting, dizziness and loss of appetite are often added. In addition, many of those affected are sensitive to noise and light. Some patients can manage their symptoms well with home remedies for migraines. But many also take medication. The Stiftung Warentest has now investigated which drugs are suitable for the common disease and reports what to think of the new hope, the "migraine injection".
Medicines for acute and preventive treatment
There are various medications that can alleviate the condition - acute or preventive. In acute cases, pain relievers and special migraine medications, so-called triptans, help.
Special preventive agents for spraying are considered to be new hope. These injections block the effects of a substance that is formed in the nervous system and plays a major role in the development of the disease: Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide, or CGRP for short.
As the Stiftung Warentest explains on its website, several pharmaceutical companies are researching this principle.
The first product has been available in German pharmacies since November 2018. The medicine called Aimovig contains the active substance erenumab.
Usually patients inject themselves every four weeks.
"Migraine injections" under the microscope
The pharmaceutical experts at Stiftung Warentest, who took a closer look at the "migraine injections", come to the conclusion: "The new drugs work, albeit within limits".
According to the information, erenumab was able to reduce the migraine attacks on average by about one to three days per month compared to a placebo.
The success rate is thus as high as with other prescription preventive products.
However, specific statements about possible side effects could only show long-term use.
The first point of contact is the family doctor
As the testers explain, the usual preventive migraines include prescription beta blockers. In acute cases, pain relievers and so-called triptans are mainly used.
According to the drug experts' assessment, many - but not all - migraine medications are suitable.
The selection depends primarily on the severity and frequency as well as concomitant diseases and special features, such as in children or pregnant women.
Therefore, clarification from the doctor is important. The first point of contact for suspicious symptoms is always the family doctor, who can refer you to neurologists or pain medication if necessary.
Alleviate symptoms naturally
However, many patients can alleviate their suffering by following certain rules of conduct.
Among other things, it is recommended to retreat to a calm, darkened room in the event of pain attacks in order to shield yourself from external stimuli.
Gentle massages with peppermint oil on the temples and forehead can also help. A cooling cloth on the forehead can also provide relief.
Also recommended: relaxation exercises such as autogenic training, yoga or tai chi.
Many sufferers also report the positive effects of methods such as acupressure or acupuncture.
The Stiftung Warentest also points out that sport and a regular daily routine can help.
It can also be useful to look for trigger factors and to avoid them as far as possible. It is now known that various “triggers” such as sudden stress, hormonal changes, pronounced emotions or overexertion and exhaustion can favor attacks.
The measures that prevent migraine attacks vary greatly from patient to patient. Here, for example, a headache diary can help. (ad)