Why Are Pills Hard for Migraineurs to Use?

Pills can be a very difficult way for migraineurs to get relief because of a condition called gastroparesis experienced by most migraineurs and because of the different ways drugs are metabolized depending on their delivery mechanisms.

Some of the most frustrating issues related to migraine treatment medications involve the stomach. Most migraine patients deal with nausea and vomiting and many of us have noticed that these symptoms make it difficult to keep a pill down long enough for it to take effect. But a less well known fact is that there is a term for what happens in the stomach during a migraine attack: gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis is the medical term for a condition in which the stomach muscles do not properly contract to propel food through the stomach. It is a component of migraine disease, but can also be experienced by people who do not have migraine attacks. Gastroparesis is responsible for the nausea and vomiting and also keeps the stomach from processing a pill for migraine treatment and getting it into the blood stream in a rapid time frame. Treatment medications in nasal spray and injection form bypass the stomach, allowing migraineurs to get relief without having to wait for their malfunctioning stomachs to process pills. A patch like drug Zelrix that is currently in development will offer another method for getting relief by bypassing the stomach. (To learn more about Zelrix read: Zelrix Transmits Sumatriptan Through Skin Patch & Zelrix Sumatriptan Patch & FDA Approval Process.)

You can learn more about gastroparesis by watching this video. It talks specifically about gastroparesis in the context of diabetes, but the information is still useful.

What is Gastroparesis?

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.