Anyone who has ever had a migraine knows the debilitating pain that accompanies this mysterious ailment. Imagine being free from pain and other symptoms for up to six months; that’s what a new study is exploring.

The Migraine Research Foundation estimates U.S. employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost workdays due to migraine. There are few therapeutic options to manage the disease that afflicts approximately 36 million Americans.

“Only 22.3 million migraine sufferers have been clinically diagnosed. Migraine is a significant cause of disability, generally affecting individuals between the ages of 20 and 50, which are prime working years,” said Jeffrey Apter, M.D., lead principal investigator for Princeton Medical Institute (PMI). “We believe this group of migraine patients is highly motivated to seek new treatments due to the limited success of current therapies.”

Dr. Apter and his team are studying a way to help: a clinical trial of an investigational medicine given by one-time infusion that may help prevent a migraine for up to six months. Anyone can come in for a free evaluation and screening .

“This is incredibly exciting as it may help provide up to six months of relief for severe migraine disorder,” Dr. Apter explained.

The International Headache Society diagnoses a migraine by its pain and number of attacks (at least 5, lasting 4 to 72 hours if untreated), and additional symptoms including nausea and/or vomiting, or sensitivity to both light and sound. Migraine is three times more common in women than in men and affects more than 10 percent of people worldwide. Roughly one-third of affected individuals can predict the onset because it is preceded by an “aura,” visual disturbances that appear as flashing lights, zigzag lines or a temporary loss of vision.

People with migraine tend to have recurring attacks triggered by a number of different factors, including stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, bright or flashing lights, lack of food or sleep, and dietary substances. Migraine in some women may relate to changes in hormones and hormonal levels during their menstrual cycle.

“There is no absolute cure for migraine since its pathophysiology has yet to be fully understood,” Dr. Apter added. “Responsive prevention and treatment of migraine is incredibly important. Evidence shows an increased sensitivity after each successive attack, eventually leading to chronic daily migraine in some individuals. That’s another reason why this clinical trial is so important.”

Dr. Apter emphasizes that clinical trials are a real service to the public good. Not only do they test drugs to prepare them to come to market, but there also is a high level of medical attention given each participant, including a variety of medical tests and office visits.

Those interested in being screened to participate in this clinical trial should call 609-921-6050 to see if they qualify. All evaluations, treatment, and six-months of follow-up are free to participants.

Princeton Medical Institute, Woodlands Professional Building, 256 Bunn Drive, Suite 6, Princeton. 609-921-6050.

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