New prescription migraine drug (actually an old, repackaged one)

Aspirin and similar anti-inflammatory drugs have been proven to be effective for many migraine sufferers.  In a recent report 1,000 mg of aspirin was found to be as effective as 100 mg of sumatriptan (Imitrex) with fewer side effects.  Cambia is a new prescription drug, which was recently approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of migraine headaches.  The active ingredient in this drug is diclofenac, which is also sold under Voltaren and Cataflam names.  But unlike other forms of diclofenac, Cambia is a powder which patients are supposed to dissolve in a glass of water and drink it.  Drinking a solution rather than swallowing a pill speeds absorption of the drug, which can make a difference for those migraine sufferers who need to catch their attacks early, or drugs don’t help.  The drug has a “black box” warning, which cautions about possible cardiovascular side effects, as well as gastro-intestinal side effects, including bleeding and ulcers.  The cardiovascular side effects of diclofenac are similar to those of Vioxx which was taken off the market.  Other NSAIDs also carry risk of cardiovascular (and GI) side effects, but their risk is lower.  The only NSAID without cardiovascular risks is aspirin.  In fact it is used to prevent strokes and heart attacks.  Aspirin is also the only drug which prevents the development of rebound headaches – worsening of headaches from frequent intake of a headache medicines or caffeine.

1 comment
  1. helen says: 07/01/20101:23 am

    Gee, maybe we should combine aspirin and sumatriptan. That should really be a winner!

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