HEALTH | New migraine-drug trial soon at Liverpool Hospital

“I can’t wait for the drugs to hit the market. It’s exciting to think there will be something out there to make life a bit more bearable," Ms Walker said.

“I can’t wait for the drugs to hit the market. It’s exciting to think there will be something out there to make life a bit more bearable," Ms Walker said.

New multi-pill blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering drugs are being trialled at Liverpool Hospital in a bid to find preventative treatment for those who suffer from migraines – without any side effects.

The trial lead by researchers at the George Institute for Global Health are currently seeking regular migraine sufferers to participate in the trial for a 20-week period.

According to the institute, only 20 per cent of sufferers take medication due to the side effects.

And they believe the trial may be able to help at least thousands of the three million people who suffer from migraines in Australia.

Institute research fellow Dr Cheryl Carcel said they’re hoping the treatment will reduce the number of migraines people suffer.

“We know sufferers would love to be able to reduce the number of attacks they have each month or, of course, prevent them altogether.

“But at the moment many of the pills on the market produce weight gain and fatigue so people avoid them.”

She said this is particularly an issue that women face, with migraines affecting more women than men.

“It means they often end up overusing highly potent pain-relieving drugs in the midst of an attack, which we hope to avoid.”

One of the trial’s participants, Tanya Walker, hailed the trial as she saw a huge difference in the number of migraines she was getting on a monthly basis. 

She began the 12-week trial in May.

“I found it was effective, I had a reduction from seven to eight migraines a month down to four or five. And during the last month of the trial I didn’t have any migraines. The drug was aimed at reducing the frequency but not the intensity, so when I had them, I still felt the same,” she said.

Ms Walker had been suffering from migraines since she was 14. 

She’s now 50 and said during the trial period she didn’t experience any side effects.

“The older I get the longer they seem to last – from 12 to 24 hours. I’ve had a lot of days off work because it’s really debilitating and sometimes the only way to stop it from getting worse is lying in the dark in a foetal position with no noise around you. Nine times out of 10 it’s with vomiting as well. So that can reduce effectiveness of any medication you’re taking.

“You do function and push through if you can but it’s difficult. Socially, your plans can be ruined in a heartbeat – workwise as well. I’ve just been to Europe for a month and suffered from migraines over there so it’s a waste of a trip when you’re stuck in bed for a day.”

She said it’s also a challenge for her family.

I can’t wait for the drugs to hit the market. It’s exciting to think there'll be something out there to make life a bit more bearable.

“I’m lucky my children are older now. My kids were so used to hearing ‘mummy has a headache’. I’d recommend other people to get on board with the trial because we need to do something about it.”

She said she hopes the trial will help other migraine sufferers, including her own daughter.

“My daughter has been getting migraines since she was 14 – she’s 19 now.

“I can’t wait for the drugs to hit the market. It’s exciting to think there’ll be something out there to make life a bit more bearable.”

Participants must be 18 to 65 and have had two to 14 migraines a month for at least 12 months before they turn 50. They must also be willing to take medication for 12 weeks and be able to visit Liverpool Hospital every four weeks for 20 weeks.

  • More about the trial: ecomito@georgeinstitute.org.au or 1800 397 371.
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