Migraine sufferers often given opioids at the ER even when there’s no proof they work

These days, doctors hand out opioids for just about anything. Doctors tout them to be generally safe – due to this, opioids are often over-prescribed. However, people have taken advantage of opioids, abusing the drug’s euphoric side effects which can lead to overdose.

Now, a study has revealed that an opioid often administered in hospital emergency rooms to people who suffer from migraine attacks is actually “less effective than an alternate drug.” The scientists involved in the study also warned that this drug should not be used as a first choice treatment.

Study author Dr. Benjamin W. Friedman of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City said, “People go to U.S. emergency departments 1.2 million times a year with a migraine, and the opioid drug hydromorphone is used in 25 percent of these visits, yet there have been no randomized, high-quality studies on its use for acute migraine.”

The study noted that the non-opioid drug prochlorperazine was a better option than the opioid hydromorphone as “first-line therapy for patients with a migraine” in intravenous (IV) treatment. Prochlorperazine is a dopamine antagonist, and it blocks the release of dopamine, one of the many chemical messengers in the brain.

The researchers also evaluated the use of opioid drugs can cause addiction in individuals, along with “return visits to emergency rooms for repeat treatments.” Friedman commented, “There’s no place for intravenous opioids in the treatment of migraine.” He continued, “As a society, we’re proud to highlight new developments that present evidence in a very practical way.” (Related: Kick the migraine headache drug habit – Use foods, spices, home remedies for migraine headache relief.)

The study observed 127 individuals suffering from migraine who were taken to two emergency departments in New York. Half of the participants received hydromorphone while the rest was given prochlorperazine.

The scientists monitored the data to determine how many individuals experienced continuous headache relief after 48 hours. The condition was defined as “having a mild headache or no headache two hours after receiving the drug and maintaining that level for 48 hours without needing a rescue medication to stop migraine.”

The study proved that prochlorperazine was overwhelmingly superior to hydromorphone. After 48 hours, 37 of the 62 people (60 percent) that were given prochlorperazine had sustained headache relief, versus 20 of the 64 people (31 percent) who received hydromorphone. Between the two groups, there was no stark difference in how often they returned to the ER for a migraine after one month of the treatment.

Friedman concluded that one limitation of the study is that “participants were required to have not used opioids during the previous month and to have no history of addiction to prescription or illicit opioids.” This could mean that the participants were “at lower risk for problems with opioid use than the general population.”

Natural remedies for migraines

Migraines can often be debilitating and can make it difficult to go about your daily tasks. If you are looking for natural remedies for migraines, try some of the options listed below:

  • Lavender oil – Try inhaling lavender essential oil to ease migraine pain. Lavender oil can be inhaled directly or applied diluted to the temples.
  • Feverfew – Feverfew is a flowering herb that looks like a daisy, and it is a folk remedy commonly used for migraines.
  • Peppermint oil – Peppermint oil contains menthol, which can help stop a migraine from coming on. Try applying a menthol solution to your forehead and temples for migraine-associated pain, nausea, and light sensitivity.
  • Ginger – Ginger can ease nausea caused by migraines. Ginger powder can also decrease migraine severity and duration.

You can read more articles about other natural cures for migraines at Healing.news.

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