Home > Medication > Migraine Patches: Do They Work and Where Do I Get One?

Migraine Patches: Do They Work and Where Do I Get One?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 4 May 2010 | comments*Discuss
Migraine Patches Migraine Headache

If you suffer from migraine and you need to take regular medications to forestall an attack or to reduce the intensity of the pain or the length of time you spend feeling sick in a darkened room, you are probably used to taking tablets, using nose sprays and even injecting yourself with medicine. This troubles many people who have frequent migraines, which can last over two days in some cases. But, new research is going well to develop a completely new delivery system for migraine medications – transdermal patches

Migraine patches would work in the same way as nicotine patches used in smoking cessation programs. The medication is put into a sticky patch, which is safe to use on the skin, and provides a slow release of the active drug over a period of time.

Do Migraine Patches Work?

Pharmaceutical companies have been developing transdermal patches as migraine medicines for some time now and appear to be on the verge of perfecting their techniques. In the early autumn of 2009, the results of a Phase III clinical trial for one product were announced at an American conference on headaches. The patch works equally well whether it is applied to the skin on the arm or on the stomach. In the trial, which included 530 people with severe migraines, the patch showed a significant ability to produce quick and long lasting relief from both pain and the nausea that usually goes with it.

The patches worked just as well as the nose sprays, if not slightly better and there is a good chance that the therapy will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the USA. If that happens, approval by the European regulatory body, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), could follow but this would be required before the patches became available in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

The Advantages of Migraine Patches

Not only would migraine patches be far more convenient and easier to use, they also would make the drug treatment for migraine more effective because of the nausea issue. Patients with migraine who are badly affected by feeling sick once their migraine pain begins find it extremely difficult to face swallowing a tablet or drinking the water needed to wash it down, even though they need the pain relief so badly. Putting on a patch is possible even if you are actually vomiting, allowing the drug to enter the bloodstream without needing to pass through the stomach first.Many people with migraine who use nose sprays to avoid tablets still find this a difficult way to introduce the drug they need to their body. When you have severe and throbbing head and eye pain, cold liquid sprayed into the nose can be excruciating.

How do Migraine Patches Work?

The drug is absorbed into the patches, where it remains stable during storage. Once the patch is applied to the skin, which is always naturally slightly damp because of sweat, this sets up a small electric current between the patch and the skin. This forces the drug molecule out of the patch and into the skin, where it enters the tiny blood vessels in the dermis. From there, the drug molecule is carried around the body and into the head and brain, where it can act on the migraine. Because the delivery of the drug is consistent over a few hours, the blood level of the drug is very stable and this provides much better pain and nausea relief. There is no peak as there is when you take a tablet that is then absorbed all at once.

Where Can I Get Migraine Patches?

At the moment, you can’t but the signs are that this kind of drug delivery system for migraine sufferers could become available in the USA in 2010 and could be approved in Europe and the UK the year after.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Julieregan
    Re: Headaches and Migraines in Women
    I have an overactive thyroid gland and have had it since I was 40. I am using carbimazole tablets once daily. I struggle with…
    25 July 2017
  • holycow
    Re: Sinus Headaches
    my daughter has been diagnosed as suffering from a virus in the brain, how can she get rid of this pounding headache that never stops
    24 July 2017
  • JTV56
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Stells - I would - it doesn't harm and it's always best to be on the safe side. Jean.
    20 July 2017
  • Stells
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I fell backwards 2 weeks ago and hit my head on the pavement, initially it dud hurt and I had a headache the next day. I was on…
    19 July 2017
  • bree
    Re: Thyroid Disease and Headaches
    2011 March 27th migraine started after herniated disc c5/c6 had a formanectomy in 2012 after a conservation period under…
    12 July 2017
  • Tomba
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    My problem started about 15 days ago. The pain first started at the right side of the head including the right cheek, right ear and…
    6 July 2017
  • PrinDi
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    @Stinging Headpain - Poor you, it sounds genuinely awful. I hope you get better soon and manage to resolve all these awful…
    4 July 2017
  • Stinging Headpain
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    Oops...My pain is on top of left side of my head. It feels like my head is on fire sometimes..I have also tried a chiropractor.…
    3 July 2017
  • Stinging Headpain
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    I have been in pain off and on for 11 years...The first bout of pain lasted for 6 months..It will stop for a few months and start…
    3 July 2017
  • HeadacheExpert
    Re: Herbal Remedies for Headache and Migraine Relief
    Ummnoor - Your Question:If you have had an MRI (CTS?) scan and nothing unusual has been found then the…
    3 July 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the HeadacheExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.