Muscle Spasm Drug Shows Promise as Headache Treatment
A few comments here. First, this just lends even more credibility to the use of trigger point therapy and manipulation for the treatment of headaches–the musculoskeletal system is usually heavily involved. On the other side, this article once again points to the one cause, one cure philosophy. If a patient comes into my office with chronic headaches, I can almost always guarantee that they have several types of headaches. I treat with trigger point therapy, stretching, manipulation as well as attention to controlling cortisol levels, addressing food allergies and addressing GI functional problems. Headache patients are a unique and wonderful challenge because I feel that we can almost always get 100% resolution if the patient is dedicated enough to the recommendations. Of course, you could use this pharmacological approach and suffer elevated liver enzymes–but don’t worry–they come back to normal after cessation of drug use.
World Congress of Neurology Tizanidine, a drug used to treat muscle spasms, may provide new hope for millions of people with frequent headaches, physicians said on Wednesday. American scientists told the World Congress of Neurology that tizanidine, marketed by the Irish pharmaceutical group Elan Corp Plc under the brand name Zanaflex, can cut the frequency, duration and intensity of headaches. In a study presented at the 5-day meeting in London, physicians from the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor found that tizanidine reduced severe headaches by 55%. Dr. Alvin Lake and colleagues studied 92 patients with frequent headaches. Half of the subjects were randomized to receive tizanidine and half to receive placebo. After 12 weeks of treatment, the average intensity and duration of headaches improved by 51% in the tizanidine group compared with 34% in the placebo group. Side effects such as insomnia, dry mouth and drowsiness were more common in the treatment group. The researchers also found that liver enzymes were elevated in these patients, but returned to normal after treatment. Liver enzymes should be monitored, the investigators emphasized. “Medical literature focused on chronic daily headache is limited, so most of what we know about treatment strategies is based on anecdotal information,” Dr. Lake said. “This study is important because it gives clinicians scientific evidence regarding a new approach to treating an often difficult-to-treat condition,” he added. “Not only did the treatment with tizanidine reduce the amount of analgesic required by the patient, it seemed to work more efficiently on reducing the frequency of the most severe headaches,” Dr. Lake said.