By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – An experimental treatment for migraine headaches is showing real promise for sufferers of the often-chronic condition.

Glen Brown is one of the local patients using the medicated migraine patch; he has been battling migraines since he was a teenager.

“A really bad throbbing headache, lot of times behind my eyes,” he described. “Sometimes they are moderate, sometimes they’re severe. Between work, house stuff, and the kids, life is busy, so if you have a migraine you are out of commission.”

With three or four attacks a month, the 49-year old relied on oral migraine medications, which can take time to work. Then his doctor told him about an experimental patch that could provide quicker relief.

“A medication taken in tablet form doesn’t really get absorbed well enough or rapidly enough to provide effective headache relief,” Neurologist Egilius Spierings of Tufts Medical Center explained.

This patch could help patients deal with migraine pain (WBZ-TV)

Doctor Spierings showed us how the patch from Zosano Pharma works. The system uses tiny needles coated with medication to deliver a migraine drug right into the bloodstream.

“Once the patch is applied to the skin, these microneedles will penetrate the skin – generally not even deep enough to hit the nerve, so it’s not a painful procedure – but deep enough to bring the medication into the circulation,” Dr. Spierings explained.

As for Glen Brown, he has been using the patch for six months. He says it is providing relief in just 20 to 45 minutes and he doesn’t feel as sluggish.

“Makes a huge difference because then you can get back to your day, you can get back to whatever you are doing.”

So far, researchers say patients are tolerating the patch system well and no serious side effects have been reported.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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