Migraine treatment- The new horizon in research work
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Migraine is almost as old as the
human race itself. Malady IS more common in women than in men but
its aetiology is not precisely known. The problem is so baffling
that a "World Headache Committee" has been constituted to tackle it.
Its varieties are as many as the individual patients. Pain during
episode is so excruciating that only the suffer can appreciate it,
no one else. Condition may start with yawning, nausea, vomition
advancing to unbearable headache. There is no cardinal test for its
diagnosis which is mostly made on the basis of subjective symptoms.
In the present study 12 patients of
migraine headache were treated and the data collected on a proforma.
Patients were divided into two groups, A and B. Each group consisted
of 5 females and a male. Two female patients were kept as untreated
controls which were treated later on. Laboratory grade zinc sulphate
(Glaxo) was used to prepare stock solution by dissolving 15 gm. of
salt in 1 litre of water thus giving 15 mg of salt per ml. of
A: Each patient received 5 ml of
zinc sulphate solution diluted to 60 ml with water once daily, 30
minutes after breakfast for 45 days.
Each patient received zinc sulphate
solution as above. In addition received a capsule of vitamin A 5000
i.u. (trade mark of Nicholas Piramal Ltd. India) after 30 minutes of
solution and vitamin B complexe (Becosule trade mark of Pfizer Ltd.)
capsule after dinner for 10 days. The controls were administered 60
ml of aqua pura. Patients were routinely examined weekly for
frequency and intensity of pain during attack, throbbing in temporal
region nausea, phono and photophobia etc.
patients responded favourably. Frequency and intensity of episode
and nausea decreased, vomition stopped. There was decrease in
frequency and intensity of phono and photophobia. Actually the
poatients started feeling relieved 10 days after medication,
intensity of pain decreased after 10 days and the process was
progressive. In three weeks' time there was almost complete recovery
in group B. In group A however the recovery was delayed 10-12 days.
In all cases the recovery was complete and patients were no more
apprehensive of episode and forgot "Migraine Walking".
After 45 days all patients recovered. Recovery in group B was 10-12
days earlier than in group A. All patients were observed for one
year. There was no reoccurrence. No one came with a complaint even
Traditionally migraine has been treated by palliative remedies like
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistaminics, beta
blockers, ergot derivatives antemetics etc., but not with the
desired success. Zinc sulphate gave a lasting effect as indicated by
the present study.
Vascular disturbances of brain are responsible for migraine, there
is constriction of brain blood vessels, resulting in cerebral
ischaemia leading to spasm (Dalessio 1993). This is followed by
vasodilation during the headache phase. Branches of external carotid
artery especially the temporal, occipital and middle meningeal
arteries are involved. Pulsatile form of headache changes to more
constant dull headache (Dalessio, 1993). Godshy et al.,
(2002) have reported the involvement of calcium channels as well.
Sicuteri et al., (1965) found an Increase in vascular
permeability and dilation in cerebral vessels in migraine patients.
All these conditions lead to local tissue changes like vessel oedema,
scalp swelling and throbbing temporal arteries. Zinc sulphate
provided triple pronged defence. It is an excellent antihypertensive
agent and brought the BP to normal range (Dhillon et ai,
unpublished data) thus controlled the throbbing. Being calcium
channel blocker (Sarria et al., 1989) thus lowered the BP and
over came the spasm. Zinc sulphate is also part of metaloenzymes
needed for synthesis of DNA and RNA thus is a healing agent** and
may have repaired the tissue damage to blood vessels and controlled
tissue oedema and provided relief to tense nerves. Vitamin A is also
needed for vessel epithelial repair. Synergistic effect of zinc
sulphate and vitamin A might be responsible for earlier recovery in
group B. Also vitamin B complexe is CNS tonic (Sarria et al.,
1989). However, zinc sulphate alone also cured the patients
though a bit later. There were no ill effects of zinc sulphate on
patients' health at the present dose. Though Pories et al.,
(1967) used 220 mg zinc sulphate TID safely for wound healing. It
would also mean that a higher dose may cut short the recovery
Dalessio D.J. (1993). Wolff's Headache and Other Pain. 6 Ed. New
York: Oxford University
Dhillon K.S. Singh J. and Layal J.S.
(2006). Observations on antihypertensive effects of zinc sulphate in
human subjects (unpublished data).
Godsby P.J., Lipton, R.B. and
Ferrari, M.D. (2002) Migraine -Current understanding and treatment.
N. Eng. J. Med.
**Pories W.J., Benzel, J.H., Red,
e.G. and Stain H.A.V.W. (1967). Acceleration of wound healing in man
with zinc sulphate given by mouth. Lanet I : 121-24.
Sarria B., Cortizo J., Marti,
Cabrera, M., Morcillo, E. and Esplugus J. (1989). Antagonism of
calcium by zinc in guinae pig isolated tenia caeci and trachealis
muscle. B. J. Pharmacol. 97 : 19-26.
Sicuteri F. (1966). Vasoactive
substances in migraine. Headache.6: 109
* Dr. Kundan
Singh Dhillon is one of the leading intellectuals and his profile is
published in the book, ‘Leading Intellectuals of the World’
published by ‘The American Biographical Institute, Inc. United
States of America’.