• University of Phoenix
    As the leading online school in the nation, Phoneix University offers various pharmacology online courses to take in your own time.
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    One of the largest online universities with a widely recognized name, Kaplan University offers a myriad of online pharmacology courses that fit your schedule.
Treatments for Migraine Headaches
by admin on: February 10th, 2011

A recent study published in the scientific journal Neurological Sciences states there is a strong genetic component that contributes to the disorder of migraines. Migraines result from a impairment (dysfunction) of sensory processing systems, and often have symptoms including a headache, sensitivity to certain smells (osmophobia), a fear/avoidance of loud sounds (phonophobia), a sensitivity to light (photophobia), and general feelings of nausea. Early theories of the etiology of migraines linked the often described throbbing pain in the head to the vascular system, a system of blood vessels. More recent theories suggest that the throbbing pain may be related to how the body interprets pain signals in the brain, rather than involving the entire vascular system. However, much is still not understood.

There are a number of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines available to treat migraines. Excedrin Migraine was the first OTC drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This drug contains a combination of acetaminophen (250 mg), aspirin (250 mg), and caffeine (65 mg). Acetaminophen and aspirin are both pain relievers, while caffeine is an additive that promotes the absorption of the two other drugs.

Other drugs used to treat migraine, such as Sumatriptan (available as a prescription), have a different pharmacological action. Rather than acting as a pain reliever in the sense that acetaminophen and aspirin relieve pain, Sumatriptan reduces neural activity of a particular set of neurons (cells of the nervous system) in regions thought to be important in the pathogenesis of migraines.

Finally, there are drugs prescribed to act as a preventative treatment for severe cases of migraine and are taken daily. One class of these drugs is calcium-channel blockers (flurnarizine, also called Sibelium). It is thought that these drugs act on “modulatory” systems???systems that can regulate systems involved in sensory perception. Consumers should consult with their physicians, as to the approach that is best suited to their symptoms.


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