Latest research on potential new migraine treatments

This week (18-20 September 2006) leading neurologists will present research results on two potential new treatments, which could significantly reduce the suffering of people with migraine and cluster headache.

Headache and migraine doctors and researchers from around the world will hear how:
1. an epilepsy drug (topiramate) has been proven to significantly reduce the number of migraine days in chronic migraine sufferers
2. a small electric implant in the head can reduce the number and intensity of very severe, cluster headaches - sometimes called 'suicide headaches' as they are so painful

Details of two studies concerning topiramate will be presented at the Symposium.  In total, 365 patients were involved with some receiving the active treatment and others receiving a placebo.  Almost a quarter (22%) of those treated with topiramate experienced at least a 50% reduction in the number of days they had migraine.  No one receiving a placebo experienced a reduction in the number of days they had a migraine.

For patients with cluster headaches, the long term findings of a study where the treatment is a small electric implant placed in the head, were also encouraging.  The procedure is known as occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) and five patients were treated.  All patients who continued with the treatment past four months found that their headaches improved, with one patient going from an average of more than one attack per day, to just one per month.  A further patient found their cluster headaches disappeared completely.

Professor Goadsby, chair of the Migraine Trust International Symposium, believes migraine and headache patients should be encouraged by these latest research findings:  "The future is bright for patients with headache. Our meeting this week will highlight new understanding of the basis of two very disabling conditions- migraine and cluster headache. Our focus on treatment is on stopping attacks before they start- we want to prevent migraines happening.  Migraine and cluster headache are devastating for the patient so prevention seems a hugely important goal.  Based on the studies presented this week, topiramate could be a useful additional treatment option to reduce the numbers of migraines chronic sufferers get.

"Cluster headache is very debilitating and while occipital nerve stimulation sounds a dramatic treatment, this small, long term study does show some positive results that lead me to believe that we can reduce the suffering from this condition."

"Of course not everything we talk about at a meeting is available tomorrow, but hope for the future arrives today as we strive to improve the lives of patients with headache."

For further information and support about migraine, please contact The Migraine Trust helpline on 020 7436 1336.  Or visit the website: www.migrainetrust.org

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Media enquiries:
Please contact Louise Raisbeck at lraisbeck@migrainetrust.org or on 07966 688063.

Notes to editors:

The Migraine Trust was founded in 1965 and is the UK's leading medical research charity for the condition.  Its work includes funding research, supporting migraine sufferers and raising awareness of the condition.  Since its inception, the Trust has invested more than £3million in 130 research projects.

For further information on migraine and its management, please contact The Migraine Trust, 55-56 Russell Square, London, WC1B 4HP.  Tel: 020 7436 1336www.migrainetrust.org.

About the Migraine Trust International Symposium:
Since 1976, the Migraine Trust International Symposium (MTIS) has developed a reputation as a truly independent and professional forum for the best in headache research.  Presenters and delegates come from all over the world to share their knowledge and latest research in the field of headache and migraine.

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