Today's Medical News From Newspapers, TV, Radio and the Journals.
The AP (12/22, Neergaard) reported, "Overusing painkillers can spin migraine patients into a rut, spurring more headaches that in turn require more pain medication. A very unlucky fraction even get what's called chronic migraine, where they're in pain more days than not, and new research suggests certain prescription painkillers, including narcotics, increase that risk." Richard Lipton, M.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and colleagues, "tracked 8,200 episodic migraine sufferers for a year, and found 2.5 percent worsened to a state of chronic migraine." Patients "who took two classes of prescription medications -- drugs containing narcotics, such as Percocet (acetaminophen and oxycodone), or drugs containing barbiturates, such as Fiorinal (aspirin/butalbital/caffeine) -- were most likely to worsen," the team reported in the journal Headache. Furthermore, the "risk increased with higher doses."