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    A Solution for Migraines: Have You Tried Triptans?

    by Skye Sherman - February 18 , 2019

    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld

    According to Insider, over 38 million Americans are affected by migraines. However, there are a few different ways that sufferers can work to treat or combat their migraines, including prescription medications, over the counter pain relief options, and even lifestyle modifications where applicable. The key in most cases is to act quick once you feel a migraine coming on.

    One of the most effective migraine treatment options available is a class of drugs known as triptans. This article explains everything you need to know about triptans and their usefulness in treating and providing relief from migraines. Read on to learn more about whether triptans may be right for you as a form of migraine treatment.

    What are triptans?

    According to Future Medicine, “Triptans are a class of antimigraine drugs that exert their action through serotonin (5-HT)1B/1D receptor agonism. They have shown generally good efficacy, tolerability and safety profile and are currently considered first-line treatment for moderate or severe migraine attacks. Although current triptan formulations include tablets, melt tablets, subcutaneous injections, nasal sprays and suppositories, oral triptans (including the orally disintegrating tablets) represent the mainstream of treatment for the majority of migraineurs.”

    The short version? Across the board, triptans are one of the most effective migraine treatment options available. They are primarily available as a prescription medication, though in recent years, the pharmaceutical community has seen the release of sumatriptan as an over the counter medication option that can be acquired after assessment from a pharmacist. Sumatriptan contains sumatriptan as the active ingredient, which belongs to the class of drugs known as triptans.

    Migraines: a curse with no cure

    What, exactly, is a migraine? An article in Insider explains,

    “Dr. Evan Schloss, MD, neurologist, neuro-ophthalmologist, CareMount Medical, told [us] that a migraine typically has two parts: the headache, and the aura (if any). ‘A migraine headache is usually a one-sided, severe, throbbing headache, and the headache is often associated with sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and nausea,’ he explained. ‘Most people just have the headache, however, in some people, the headache is preceded by an aura, which is often a visual disturbance which can look like a gradually expanding colorful shape in your vision, with a border that often looks like a zig-zag and has a shimmering quality to it,’ he added. But some people just have the aura, and no headache. Adding to the complexity of these headaches, are the different types of migraines. ‘There are several well-characterized sub-types of migraine including migraine with brainstem aura, hemiplegic migraine, retinal migraine, vestibular migraine, menstrual migraine, and chronic migraine,’ Dr. Cara Pensabene, MD.”

    However, these scientific descriptions do not fully capture the agonizing experience felt by many migraine sufferers. Becca Stanek, a writer for The Week, explains her experience this way:

    “A migraine is a headache in the same way a square is a rectangle. A migraine is technically a kind of headache — but the word headache in no way captures the intense agony of a migraine. A migraine is an entirely different beast, one that’s nausea-inducing, vision-blurring, mind-muddling, limb-weakening, head-throbbing, and neck-stiffening. A headache is typically centered in your cranial region; a migraine is a horrible full-body experience.”

    Some people are able to take an over the counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to attack their painful symptoms and find relief. These pain relief pills are typically very effective in treating mere headaches, but they can also work for some people for migraines too, especially when they are taken at the first sign of symptoms.

    However, some migraine cases are more severe and require a prescription, especially in the form of a preventative medication that is usually taken daily in order to prevent the onset of a migraine before it even begins. It’s also worth noting that for some people, caffeine serves as a trigger for migraines. Once a migraine begins to kick into gear, migraine sufferers often have to retreat to a dark and quiet place to rest, as loud noises and bright lights only serve to worsen the pain.

    Attempting to stop the migraine in its tracks before it fully sets in is an essential step in staving off migraines. However, sometimes, that’s not enough, and no matter how much a person tries, the migraine kicks in and is often debilitating, preventing them from going about their normal daily activities.

    Another treatment option for some is Botox. Believe it or not, Botox injections help some people find relief from their migraines. This is usually a treatment considered for people who do not respond to prescription medications, supplements, and other forms of treatment. There are other treatment options too, and each person must find what works best for them, but in most cases, triptans are the most effective at treating the symptoms of a migraine and helping a person avoid them.

    Unfortunately, at the end of the day, there currently is no proven cure for migraines. Scientists have established that migraines are a neurobiological disorder, meaning they are a nervous system illness caused by biological factors (similar to genetics or metabolism), but that doesn’t mean there’s a way to get rid of them for good. The only options available to migraine sufferers are to treat the symptoms and do their best to conduct their lives in such a way that they avoid any triggers and stay away from migraines as best they can.

    Why? More likely than not, the explanation is simply that the brain is an exquisitely complicated organ. The more scientists learn about it, the less they see that they understand. According to The Week’s research based on an article in The Guardian, “migraine research ‘receives much less funding, compared with similarly debilitating conditions.’ The National Institutes of Health's 2017 budget for migraines was $19 million; $51 million was devoted to smallpox, and the last case of smallpox in the U.S. was in 1949. No offense to smallpox, but it seems safe to say that 113 million workdays aren't missed annually because of smallpox.”

    So, while the horizon looks bleak, at least there are ways for migraine sufferers to seek relief, even if they cannot yet hope for a cure that will finally rid them of migraines once and for all.

    The efficacy of triptans: why triptans may be able to help migraines

    As we have established, triptans are known to be one of the most effective migraine treatment options out there. But how exactly do they work? It’s important to note that their pain relief process is a bit different from the way standard over the counter painkillers work, so they have different instructions associated with their use.

    The health website Patient words it this way: “Triptans are not painkillers. Triptans work by imitating the action of a brain chemical called 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). 5-HT is also known as serotonin. 5-HT gives instruction to cells by attaching to specific sites (receptors) on the outside of them, rather like a password triggering a computer programme or a key opening a lock. One of the effects 5-HT has is to cause widened (dilated) blood vessels to narrow (constrict). For this reason, do not take a triptan too early in an attack of migraine. (This is unlike painkillers…which should be taken as early as possible.) They may also reduce the release of other brain chemicals that occurs during a migraine attack.”

    So, one of the main differences between standard painkillers and triptans as migraine treatment options is the fact that the patient should not take the triptan too early in the migraine process, which runs counter to the advice followed by most migraine sufferers, which is to seek relief and treatment as early as possible in the process.

    There are many different triptan delivery methods available, including tablets (which you swallow like a pill), tablets that dissolve in the mouth, nasal sprays, and even injections. So, what triptan product is right for you? That depends on a variety of factors, including your unique genetic makeup, your lifestyle, your doctor’s recommendations, what’s working for you, and more. See the next section for help deciding what to do if your current triptan medication doesn’t seem to be working for you.

    Methods for trying triptans: try a new kind if one doesn’t work for you

    One quality that is unique to triptans is that finding a triptan that works for you is a trial and error process in many cases.

    Patient explains, “Some triptans work in some people and not in others. Therefore, if one triptan does not work, the same one at a higher dose, or a different one, may well do so. In some cases, some people have tried three or more different triptans before finding one that works best for them. However, do not make a judgement after just using a particular triptan once. The British Association for the Study of Headache (BASH) recommends that you try each triptan for three separate migraine attacks before deciding to change to a different one. Even in people where triptans work well, a triptan does not work for every migraine attack. The aim is to find the one that works most of the time for you. If the triptan you try doesn’t work for you, your doctor may also advise a change in the way in which the medicine is given in some cases.”

    So, if you try triptans and don’t immediately find relief, don’t give up. It may just take some time to find the perfect triptan that works for your particular case.

    Side effects of triptans: things to know before taking triptans

    Fortunately, the side effects of triptans (if any) tend to be mild. Though they do not occur in every case, potential side effects of triptans include a warm or hot sensation, tightness, tingling or flushing, pressure, dizziness or nausea, and in some cases drowsiness.

    It’s also important to note that some people cannot take triptans at all, which is why it is essential that a migraine sufferer consults with his or her doctor throughout their migraine treatment regiment. Make sure to keep an open line of communication with your medical provider about your migraines, any new medications you’re taking, the development of new symptoms or conditions, and also if you become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

    Where to buy triptans

    Wondering where you can buy triptans? While sumatriptan is available over the counter, the rest of the triptan class of medications is available through a prescription only. Fortunately, there are great options for where you can acquire triptans in addition to your local pharmacy.

    We have a wide selection of triptan products available on our website, and for a much more affordable price than many other retailers. Some triptans run at a high cost, but you’ll find a better price here than anywhere else. Check out the triptans we have available; we offer triptans in a variety of strengths and dosage methods, from tablets to injection vials to nasal sprays, so you’re sure to find an option that works for you.

    Below is a chart with the triptan products we have available.

    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld

    Contact us today if you have questions about our triptan products or would like assistance in placing an order for triptans. We offer reliable shipping that delivers your order straight to your door, making the entire experience seamless and hassle-free.

    We are here with you throughout your triptan trial process, too. Remember that you may not find the perfect triptan that works for you on the first go, so don’t give up. Under the guidance of your physician, you’re sure to find a triptan product that works for you.

    It’s also a good idea to stock up so you have some triptans on hand for the next time a migraine hits. While migraine episodes can not usually be predicted or prevented, if you have the right migraine treatment options on hand that work for you, you should be able to get back to your work and normal life in no time at all.

    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld
    Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld

    Disclaimer: This article is for reference purposes only. Patients should talk with a licensed medical provider regarding their specific diagnosis and treatment options. We stock brand-name and generic triptan medications from different countries around the world. Generic equivalents may vary. Contact our customer service line for additional details.


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