Depression and anxiety and response to sumatriptan

Migraine sufferers are 2 – 3 times more likely to become depressed or anxious than those without migraines.  The reverse is also true – depressed and anxious people are 2 -3 times more likely to develop migraines.  According to a new study published in the journal Cephalalgia, being depressed or anxious does not prevent migraine drugs from working.  The Greek researchers gave participants in the study sumatriptan (Imitrex), 50 mg for 3 attacks, and placebo, for another 3 attacks, without the doctors or the patients knowing what they were getting for any particular migraine attack.  Presence of anxiety or depression did not have an impact on weather after taking sumatriptan the headache returned within 24 hours or not.  Unfortunately, many physicians dismiss patients with migraine headaches as neurotics and hypochondriacs and the presence of anxiety or depression makes this bias even stronger.  These doctors tend not to prescribe effective migraine drugs, which leads to unnecessary suffering.  It is true that for some patients 1,000 mg of aspirin can be as effective as 50 or even 100 mg of sumatriptan with fewer side effects, but when aspirin is ineffective, sumatriptan or another drug in the triptan family should be used.  One surprising detail of this study is that the researchers used 50 mg of sumatriptan, and not 100 mg, which should be the usual starting dose for most patients.

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