"My migraines came back and the only thing I've changed in my daily routine is I started a new cholesterol-lowering drug. Can statin drugs be a problem for migraineurs?"
Many people overlook the fact that prescription drugs can trigger migraines. Fortunately this person realized there may be a connection between the newly prescribed drug and the change in her migraine pattern and sought our help.
Headaches that result from taking a drug may not appear immediately and are often overlooked as the cause. Even when "headache" is not listed as a side effect, that doesn’t mean it won’t trigger a migraine. A statin drug is used to lower cholesterol and is one of the prime examples of why migraineurs must be concerned about the drugs they take.
To recognize potential problems with drugs one has to understand the mechanics of migraines enough to know two substances, namely nitric oxide and L-tyrosine (tyramine), are involved in the triggering of a migraine. Knowing and understanding this process in detail, Tuliv researchers investigate how a drug works in the body in order to determine if it could be problematic for migraineurs. By sharing the results of this research, Tuliv has prevented countless migraines throughout the world.
Statin drugs, including well-known medications such as Lipitor, Zocor, Mevacor, Pravachol, and Crestor, are prescribed for their lipid lowering effects. Unfortunately for migraineurs statin drugs can increase the nitric oxide levels in the body through what is called "nitric oxide synthase in isolated endothelial cells."
These cells comprise the inside lining of the blood vessels that are intertwined with the trigeminal nerve that runs along both sides of the head and behind the eyes. Does this sound like where your headaches occur? It should - because this is the pathway of the migraine pain.
Statin drugs can increase the level of nitric oxide in the very region where migraines occur to the point where it causes the blood vessels to expand and become so inflamed they put pinching pressure on the nerve endings that is felt by you as a pounding headache.
If anyone doubts the effect of nitric oxide causing a painful headache, just ask someone who has had to take nitroglycerine to prevent a heart attack. It saves their life by rapidly expanding the blood vessels and has the aftereffect of an incredibly painful headache.
How the body processes statin drugs is but one example of how pharmaceuticals can trigger migraines. Anytime you have a change in your headache pattern, think about why this is happening to you. Since it can be difficult to figure out why you are getting more migraines or why they have suddenly gotten much worse, we offer you our personal help in solving your problem.