The problem, according to a number of medical professionals, is that even though the drug is contra-indicated for some people, it is the only thing that works. Other alternative drugs that may be prescribed also have varying dangerous side effects, or they simply don’t provide the relief that migraine sufferers need in order to function at anywhere near full capacity.
A recent study of over 120,000 people being treated for migraine indicated that at least 22% of those who had heart conditions that would prohibit the use of triptans were still receiving and taking the drug. This is a “concerning”situation, according to Dr. Ng-Mak, lead investigator of the study funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation. She said that further study is needed.
A headache specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, Stewart Tepper, MD said the findings are “upsetting” and he didn’t expect to find so many at-risk patients still taking prescribed triptans. However, he said he has patients for whom triptans are the only thing that relieves their pain, and they are dismayed when he tells them they can’t have the drug. Both Ng-Mak and Tepper said there is an urgent need for a new drug to replace triptans in cases where the drug is contraindicated.