Availability of Migraine Treatments

Any migraine is a complex neurological disorder that makes qualified neurologists and experienced scientists wonder. Unlike some other health conditions, the biology of migraines is not figured out. However, the great news is that people are getting closer and closer to understanding how migraine attacks manifest themselves and their pathophysiology. This knowledge revolutionized treatments and set off a number of promising studies and emerging therapies. For example, the main advances in treating migraines include the following:

• New anti-migraine meds for prevention and acute treatment;
• Unique ways to administer triptans, which are proven and tested anti-migraine drugs;
• Medical tools to both prevent and treat migraines.

Basic Information about Triptans

Triptans work by binding to serotonin brain receptors, and they’re often taken to treat moderate and severe migraines. They’re also taken to treat mild migraine attacks that can’t be relieved with NSAIDs. The greatest benefit of triptans is that they come in different forms, such as nasal sprays, standard and water-dissolving tablets, suppositories and subcutaneous injections. With all of these available options, patients with migraines and their doctors can pick triptans according to personal needs and preferences. Their basic considerations may include the following:

• Onset of action;
• Adverse reactions;
• Prices and convenience;
• Appeal to specific populations, such as people who experience vomiting and nausea and can’t tolerate oral meds.

It’s also worth mentioning that triptans can be administered in other unique ways in the nearest future. As an example, sumatriptan lingual sprays are being developed, just like rizatriptan mouth dissolving films and zolnitriptan inhalers. Don’t forget that new formulas may not always work well. Sumatriptan was available as special battery-powered transdermal patches applied to the thigh or upper arm. They penetrated the skin through their electric gradient system that delivered a certain dose of this medication each 4 hours. Nowadays, this treatment option isn’t on the market because of reports of scars and burns.
With new formulas and medications that are promised, there are certain nuances and hesitancy that should be considered. Besides, the treatment that works for some patients may not work for others, so you need to talk to doctors to determine the pros and cons of recommended migraine therapies.

New Anti-Migraine Meds

As scientists keep unveiling the biology and mechanisms of developing migraine attacks, they can target new receptors and pathways. Some important advances in migraine meds include:

• Meds that target CGRP;
• Drugs that target Glutamate;
• Lasmiditan, which is a medicine similar to other triptans, but it has a greater affinity for a particular serotonin receptor.

Lasmiditan as Serotonin Agonist

It’s developed as an alternative treatment to triprans. Why is this alternative required? There are several reasons, such as the following:

1. The latest research proves that about 35% of patients don’t get any relief from triptans.
2. Some patients don’t like how their intake makes them feel, because these meds may cause unpleasant adverse reactions, including chest, jaw and neck tightness, tingling and numbness.
3. Many people can’t take triptans, as they may lead to blood vessel constriction or vasoconstriction. That’s why they are contraindicated in patients with a medical history of stroke, heart disease, uncontrolled hypertension, peripheral vascular disease and specific migraine types, such as basilar and hemiplegic.

The good news about Lasmiditan is that this medicine selectively binds to certain serotonin brain receptors, thus, having less affinity for other similar receptors that may lead to unwanted vasoconstriction when being bound. Another important fact is that this medication used in different doses can relieve pain from severe to moderate headaches within 2 hours based on studies. This improvement depends on doses, which means the higher the dosage, the greater the relief from pain.

The most common side effects include dizziness, fatigue and vertigo. Unlike modern triptans, the exact binding of Lasmiditan may help patients avoid unwanted vasoconstrictive side effects, but it may result in more nervous system symptoms. So, more studies and research are needed to get a better idea of its mechanism of action.

CGRP, or Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide

CGRP plays an important role in the pathogenesis of migraines. The latest research suggests that the trigeminal system is activated during migraines, thus, resulting in the release of CGRP. It works to dilate blood vessels in the brain and trigger an interesting phenomenon, which is known as neurogenic inflammation. These steps are responsible for generating migraine attacks.

Medications that work by blocking CGRP or its receptors are studied. The bad news is that some studies focused on CGRP-receptor antagonists are discontinued for many reasons, such as liver toxicity concerns. Ubriogepant is the only medicine that is well-tolerated and efficient. 3 anti-CGRP antibodies are developed to prevent migraine headaches, and their main idea is to remove excess CGRP during attacks. These medications show good results in many clinical trials.

Erenumab is a monoclonal antibody binding to CGRP receptors and administered underneath the skin. By binding to receptors, this medicine blocks them from signaling, and that’s why it’s researched as a migraine preventive treatment. It seems that targeting CGRP pathways offer quite promising treatment options for people with chronic or episodic migraine disorders.

Glutamate Receptor Antagonists

Glutamate is an important chemical or neurotransmitter in the brain. Based on both human and animal studies, it plays a big role in how migraine headaches manifest themselves. There are many meds linked to altering or blocking glutamate receptors that are studied. Some of them are targeted at treating acute migraines, while others are designed to prevent them. You may be familiar with preventive meds, including Topamax, which blocks the release of glutamate. It’s interesting that ketamine that blocks glutamate receptors in the brain can treat the migraine aura by suppressing cortical spreading depression.

Based on the study of patients who have their prolonged migraine aura, intranasal ketamine was compared to intranasal midazolam. It was proven that ketamine decreased the severity of this aura, but failed to achieve the same effect with its duration. Its possible adverse reactions include the following:

• Temporary mild giddiness;
• Euphoria;
• Feeling of unreality.

These symptoms last for about 30-45 minutes. The role played by glutamate and its pathway in chronic migraines and their aura are still a target of research with a hope for new therapies.

FDA-Approved Medical Tools to Treat Migraines

Creation of medical tools to prevent and treat migraines has revolutionized their therapy. They are quite convenient and easy to use and linked to minimal side effects. Their only cons include the price and the fact that some of them may not work for all patients. Investigating these devices is a reasonable option for many people with migraines, especially if available meds fail to work, or if they’re prone to developing medication overuse headaches.

Cefaly is one of these migraine-preventing devices, and it targets the supraorbital nerve that innervates a part of the scalp, forehead and upper eyelid. It’s a battery-operated tool that should be worn as a headband and used for 20 minutes on a daily basis. According to many studies, Cefaly is a user-friendly and well-tolerated device, because less than 5% users have reported side effects. It offers a great option for patients who can’t tolerate or don’t want to take oral migraine preventive drugs.

GammaCore, or nVNS, is another device that should be used by people to both treat and prevent acute migraines. Basically, it works by stimulating a vagus nerve, so this device should be held against the side of your neck for about 2 minutes after using special conductive gel. There’s an opinion that GammaCore works suppressing high glutamate levels in the trigeminal system. Based on many trials and tests, its use can result in improving a number of headaches each month and their pain intensity in patients with chronic and episodic migraine disorders. There are some side effects that can be experienced, but they are mild and include neck twitching and skin irritation.

The sTMS is another effective device approved by the FDA to treat migraines with the aura. It should be applied to the back of the head, and users need to press a button to release stimulating magnetic energy into their brain. It’s possible to use this device only once a day as a migraine treatment, and it works by suppressing cortical spreading depression.

Final Words

Although the culmination of new migraine devices and therapies is quite promising and exciting, preventing and treating headache can be a malleable and tedious process. It involves a lot of trial and error that will alter as your lifestyle, migraines and personal preferences change. You should stay proactive by visiting neurologists and staying updated with the latest migraine news about emerging therapies.

Are Dietary Supplements Necessary for the Organism?

Dietary supplements turn to be rather confusing substances if you possess the necessary information about them. The store shelves are full of powders and pills claiming the healthiest and leanest body if you buy this magic in the bottle. However, before buying the item and starting the course aimed at better health, improved endurance, muscular build, physique and other aspects of health, you need to realize the purpose of these supplements and whether you need them.

Supplements or Whole Foods: Making the Decision

Generally, the supplement means that it is an addition to something, not replacement of nutrients gained from keeping to a healthy diet. Moreover, if a patient eats healthy foods on a regular basis without skipping meals, caloric restriction for weight reduction or other issues, the necessary daily allowance of minerals and vitamins can be obtained from what he/she consumes. It is obvious that primary nutritional needs should be met through the diet. Instead, some people use mineral and vitamin supplements as an insurance, when they feel that their nutritional intake is not healthy. Frequently, the supplements are utilized in cases when they are not even necessary. Consuming a diversity of whole foods from good carbohydrates, healthy fats to lean proteins, provides the top assurance of receiving all the needed health benefits and nutrients.

Facts about Supplementation

The most common supplements contain minerals, herbals and vitamins and are widely available without prescription. Dietary supplements are generally defined by the FDA as foods, not drugs, thus, they are unable even to claim that they can cure, treat or prevent certain disorders. Additionally, supplements can trigger side effects, especially if used prior to surgical procedures, as well as in a combination with other pharmaceuticals. Many herbs and supplements have not been studied for adverse reactions, so it is inevitable to discuss their implementation with a qualified physician to ensure correct healthcare management.
Generally, little research and investigation has been performed to receive accurate information about safety, effectiveness and negative influence of such supplements. Since they are regulated as foods, they cannot be accounted for the effects or quality of the body. The most important issue before beginning of any supplement intake is information about whether it is safe, effective and necessary for you.

Who Requires Supplements?

People, who are healthy due to the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins do not need extra supplements. However, there are specific instances, when supplements may be beneficial. They include:

• Pregnancy. Women trying to get pregnant should consume 400 mcg of folic acid a day, apart from eating products rich in folate. Besides, pregnant women are recommended to use iron-containing vitamin supplements.

• Adults over 60 years old. Due to the fact that B12 deficiency is more peculiar to older people, healthcare specialists usually advise B12 supplements for their patients over 60 years old.

• Adults over 65. 800IU of Vitamin D is recommended for elderly patients to decrease fall risk.

• Nutritional deficiency. Supplements can also be beneficial for patients, who restrict calories and do not eat a healthy diet. Fish oil can be prescribed to people, who do not get enough fatty fish a week.

• Women with heavy menstruation can develop iron deficiency, so they may require iron supplements.

• Medical conditions that interfere with an ability to absorb nutrients, as well as surgical procedures on the intestinal tract, which prevent the organism from proper nutrient consumption. Having chronic medical conditions, you should discuss the supplement use with your doctor.

Make an Educated Choice

The positive thing about dietary supplements is that they are not an obligation for proper health. A variety of healthy foods can satisfy your daily need of nutrients, so that you do not require supplementation. Taking certain supplements is an individual decision, though it should be an educated one. Keep in mind false claims and promises from unregulated products, which fall under the food category. Before you select any supplement, discuss its intake with your healthcare provider, undergo a small examination and conduct your own research to learn all the possible pros and cons of an unknown supplement.

Using Samento against Lyme Disease

In the Northern hemisphere, Lyme disease is the most common disease transmitted by ticks. Since temperature significantly influences tick activity and population, the risk of Lyme disease is especially high in summer and autumn. Although antibiotics at the early stage of treatment allow patients to cure fast and completely, there are reasons why some people search for a natural remedy.

Samento herbal supplement is derived from Uncaria tomentosa, which is also known as cat’s claw. Both samento and cat’s claw are popular remedies in treating Lyme disease, though there is not enough scientific evidence to prove their effectiveness. Can samento really help with Lyme borreliosis and when is the proper time to try natural plant medicine?

Understanding Lyme Disease

Learning the basics, let us understand what causes this infectious disease known as Lyme borreliosis. At least five types of Barrelia bacteria, when transmitted through a bite of Ixodes ticks, can lead to Lyme disease in humans and animals.

To prevent infection, try to avoid tick bites by following these simple rules. When going to a forest or other places with tall grass and bushes, protect yourself by using a repellent and wearing clothing to prevent direct contact with insects. That is, tuck long pants into socks, wear long sleeves and protect the neck area.

Always check your body for ticks when returning from a forest. Remember that if bitten by an infected tick, it doesn’t matter how quick you will removed it; the risk of getting an infection remains the same. Immediately contact a doctor to make a blood test for tick-borne diseases.

Lyme borreliosis is successfully treated by antibiotic drugs; here, an early treatment contributes to a rapid and complete cure. When a proper treatment is absent or delayed, a chronic form of Lyme disease may appear. This condition is known as PTLDS, a post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, which is associated with serious complications.

Common effects of PTLDS include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and arthritis; these can last for months and cannot be cured by an additional round of antibiotics.

Why Can Samento Help with PTLDS?

The causes of chronic Lyme disease are not yet known, though some experts relate it to a damaged or altered immune system. Samento is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, as well as treat autoimmune disorders. While PTLDS patients suffer from chronic inflammation, samento and similar plant medicines can possibly have health benefits for this condition.

According to a researcher who also popularized samento as a natural Lyme disease remedy, this plant helps to get rid of bacteria, which are causing the painful symptoms. There is not enough scientific evidence to support this claim.

However, a recent research points out that inflammation may be the key factor causing alterations in our nervous system. In turn, these alterations are strongly related to symptoms commonly found in patients with Lyme disease.

Using Samento for Treatment

Only a few scientific researches studied samento in connection with Lyme disease treatment. Some suggest using a combination of samento and banderol in order to get notable health benefits.

If you believe samento can improve your condition and contribute to a faster recovery, consult a doctor first to include it in your treatment program. Please remember that improper treatment of Lyme disease is dangerous and can lead to severe complications. Also note that no researches were made to ascertain the safety of this herb for pregnant women, children and people with special health conditions.

Samento and Alternative Plant Remedies

Samento is derived from cat’s claw and both are considered to be effective for Lyme disease treatment. However, these remedies are not exactly the same since samento is TOA-free (does not contain tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids). Many health benefits of Uncaria tomentosa are linked to POAs (pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids), while TOAs inhibit their action and also believed to disrupt brain function. Consequently, some researchers believe that samento is many times more efficient than its counterpart.

There are also other plant remedies used in conjunction with drug therapy. One of them, banderol, is said to drive out Lyme-related bacteria and treat other health problems. Garlic, lemon, and kitchen-garden purslane are also believed to be beneficial as a part of diet to support the main treatment.

Natural Remedies for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is one of the chronic conditions that never go away completely even with the proper treatment. This makes patients suffering from it try all the possible ways to get a relief. And natural treatments in this case are often considered a perfect option because they have no (or less) side-effects, associated with traditional remedies and they are seen as all-in-all beneficial, effective, and harmless.

Surveys reveal that around 40% of all patients with psoriatic arthritis use this or that natural treatment on the regular basis, and almost all of them have tried some form of a natural remedy at least once.

In most cases, natural remedies are really effective in case they are used as complementary — i.e. along with some form of traditional treatment as a way to soothe some symptoms that are associated with psoriatic arthritis. Also, they may be called completely harmless only in case they won’t cause allergies or other side-effects alone or in combination with any other treatment you use. Some natural remedies for psoriatic arthritis may worsen other health conditions you may have (for example, diabetes). At last, not all of them are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
To make sure that the natural remedy you’ve chosen will be completely safe and effective for your particular situation, consult your doctor before doing any experiments with your health.

That said, here are some psoriatic arthritis natural remedies for you to consider.

Aloe Vera

The insides of Aloe Vera leaves and their juice are an effective natural remedy for skin redness and irritation. They are able to make skin softer and moisturize it, by that, lessening scaling, which is one of the most obvious psoriasis symptoms. You may also opt for Aloe Vera-based creams and gels that may be even more beneficial due to their other ingredients.

There is also Aloe Vera dietary supplements in tablet form. In case of psoriatic arthritis, they are not recommended; what is more, they may be even dangerous because of certain components, contained in the plant.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an extract of the leaves of the sort of tree that naturally grows in Australia. This substance is used to heal wounds, pimples, and hives and it has strong antibacterial purposes. It is used by many people with psoriasis; however, it is not proven to be effective in this case. Anyway, be careful when applying pure essential oil on the skin. It may cause irritation and allergic reactions.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the substance that makes chili peppers that hot. It is extracted from plants and added to some ointments and creams, able to relieve pain and inflammation, typically associated with psoriasis. This effect is produced by the ability of capsaicin to blocks nerve endings.

Turmeric

Turmeric and its active ingredient called curcumin are characterized by anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is believed that this substance is able to relieve psoriasis flares both when consumed with food and applied topically.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Acid that is contained in cider vinegar may help to reduce itching, associated with psoriasis. This product is sold in every supermarket and it may be applied topically several times a week diluted with water in 1:1 proportion to prevent further skin irritation and possible chemical burns.

Wintergreen

Wintergreen grows in the east of the USA and it is traditionally used in folk medicine due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is not proven to be an effective treatment for psoriasis; however, it is still often used for this purpose. Its main problem is its toxicity and the potential harm it may cause to your health in the large doses.

Dead Sea Salts

By adding Dead Sea salts to a warm bath, you may relieve skin itching, inflammation, and remove scales from your skin. On top of that, taking warm baths is pleasant by itself.

Bottom line

The effectiveness of any of above-described alternative remedies for psoriatic arthritis is not scientifically grounded. However, if your doctor finds some of them harmless and potentially beneficial for you, you may try them without any fear.

Natural Remedies for Strep Throat

Sore throat is quite unpleasant and painful and it can be difficult to find a proper and effective remedy. From this article you’ll learn not only about the symptoms of strep throat but also about natural remedies that can alleviate pain.

Strep throat is an infection developing due to the most widespread bacteria called Group A Streptococcus. The following symptoms may be noted:

  • fever;
  • muscle weakness and joint pain;
  • headache and fatigue;
  • sore throat and dry cough;
  • red tonsils and soft palate;
  • swollen lymph nodes;
  • tonsilloliths, etc.

Many folk remedies can relieve these symptoms but they don’t treat the infection. However, it’s important to remember that self-treatment and abandoning medications, such as amoxicillin or penicillin, may provoke serious problems with health.

But, if you can’t stand it anymore, pay attention to these products that you certainly have in your cupboard and that may alleviate these symptoms.

1. Honey

It is well known that tea with honey or lemon can sooth any sore throat, including strep throat. According to the results of many clinical trials, honey fights bacteria but it is still not known whether it is able to fight Streptococcus pyogenes.

Besides drinking tea with honey to treat strep throat, researchers recommend to gargle with warm salt water several times a day, drink cool liquids, suck throat lozenges and ice blocks (and this is not a joke) and use a humidifier in the room not to let the throat getting dry.

2. Herbs

The herbal medicine has always been quite popular and many herbs can really relieve the symptoms of strep throat.

Lozenges and tea with marshmallow, liquorice or slippery elm can relieve inflammation and irritation. But it should be noted that all evidence that these herbs are effective for treating strep throat is circumstantial.

Other Remedies

Some trials show that a great amount of medicinal plants may relieve the symptoms of sore throat and fight bacteria. These are:

  • John’s wort;
  • milfoil;
  • mint;
  • sweet briar;
  • garden sage;
  • thyme.

Garlic also prevents the activity of streptolysin 0 (protein made by the bacteria) and coneflower can make bacteria inactive.

Recommendations

You shouldn’t forget that any supplement has not been tested and that doses are unregulated. Sometimes the dosage can be just accidentally exceeded. In some cases, some natural product may contain other substances, for example, metals.

Women who are pregnant or nursing and children should also visit a doctor before using different supplements as not all of them can be safe in their cases.

Avoiding taking antibiotics may cause complications, such as chronic polyarthritis and inflammatory conditions having a bad effect on the heart. If you start experiencing symptoms of strep throat, especially if it is already difficult to breathe and swallow, you should seek medical assistance. The doctor will give recommendations on whether it is safe to treat this illness with natural and folk remedies. He also may recommend you to combine antibiotics with natural remedies.

Honey for Asthma and Allergies – True and False

People say that small doses of honey help to improve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. However, this product belongs to the group of allergens and can cause inflammation by itself. Is it harmless to use honey as a cure for allergy?

Some people say that natural honey is an effective remedy for allergies. Can eating honey reduce seasonal symptoms? Are there any reasons to use caution?

It is a widespread notion that eating locally grown honey helps to treat allergies and asthma. Bee pollen can be bought without a prescription at any food store and the majority of cans are marketed as a natural remedy that can reduce inflammation.

Bee pollen is also commercially available in the form of jelly and propolis. The theory behind the medical use of honey stands upon the fact that it carries various advantageous ingredients, including components of bees and pollen allergens.

At the same time, about 40 million people in the USA suffer from symptoms of seasonal allergies to pollen. So, how does it work? And does it work at all?

Studies on Allergies and Honey

In order to show the effectiveness of a new medicine, it is compared to placebo. The role of honey was studied during two researches concerning allergic rhinitis.

In 2002, the researchers compared two types of honey that were produced locally and nationally against placebo. The research was held among people with pollen allergy. Said enough that there was no alteration of allergy symptoms in all three groups of participants. However, almost one in three of the allergy patients dropped out of the research because it was too much for them to eat one tablespoon of the sweet substance every day.

In 2013, during the study in Malaysia, there was a slight positive change related to eating honey. The participants who ate a gram of honey for each kilo of their weight per day had improved allergic rhinitis symptoms when compared to people that ate the same amounts of corn syrup with honey flavor.

Today experts agree that it is necessary to arrange some more studies for further investigations of the possible benefits of natural honey in people with allergies.

Is Locally Produced Product Better than National?

Locally produced honey includes local plant pollens that cause the allergic reaction among the residents of the region, so it is thought to be the preferential product for treating allergies. Consuming honey that is made from pollen to which a patient has allergy should improve its symptoms – it makes sense just like sublingual immunotherapy. The fact that a few people had a severe reaction – anaphylaxis – from eating honey shows that it contains enough active ingredients to stimulate the immune system.

Is Eating Honey Dangerous for Allergic People?

All-in-all, honey is harmless for most people who tend to be allergic, but in certain cases a great amount of this product can even cause anaphylaxis. So, the question can have two answers.

On one side, consuming local honey may sound like a great idea for improving your allergic symptoms. On the other hand, it could be a cause of a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction.

Consequently, patients with allergy may be most sensitive to dangerous reactions from consuming locally produced honey, due to the venom and pollen in its composition.

Bottom Line

To crown it all, we should admit that the benefit of eating natural honey for allergies is just a placebo effect. In the meantime, such “treatment” carries a huge, though rare risk of causing a serious allergic reaction.

However, this product is extremely beneficial for healthy people, especially as a dietary supplement and a wound healing product.

It is better to take some other natural remedies for asthma and allergies into account. We are talking about quercetin and omega-3 fatty acids. Nettle and herbs butterbur have also shown good results during studies regarding allergy. If you are bothered with seasonal allergic reactions, you can also try nasal irrigations and acupuncture.