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      Resolution of chronic migraine headaches with intrathecal ziconotide: a case report

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          Migraine headaches are a common and functionally debilitating disorder affecting approximately 17% of women and 5.6% of men. Compared to episodic migraine patients, chronic migraineurs are more likely to be occupationally disabled, miss family activities, have comorbid anxiety and/or chronic pain disorders, and utilize significantly more health care dollars. Ziconotide is a calcium channel blocker used for the treatment of chronic severe pain without issues of tolerance or dependency found with opioid therapy.


          A 59-year-old female had an intrathecal baclofen pump placed for spasticity secondary to multiple sclerosis. Her symptoms also included lower extremity neuropathic pain and severe migraine headaches with 22 migraine headache days per month. Prior treatments included non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, triptans, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, and Botox injections which reduced her symptoms to four migraine days per month at best. While her spasticity had markedly improved with intrathecal baclofen, ziconotide was added to help her neuropathic pain complaints. Following initiation of low-dose ziconotide (1 µg/day), the patient noted both lower extremity pain improvement and complete resolution of migraine headaches resulting in zero migraine days per month. She has now been migraine free for 8 months.


          Upon review of the available literature, there are no published cases of migraine improvement with intrathecal ziconotide. This represents the first case describing resolution of migraine symptoms with low-dose ziconotide.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Chronic migraine in the population: burden, diagnosis, and satisfaction with treatment.

          To evaluate the disability profile and patterns of treatment and health care use for chronic migraine (CM) in the general population, in contrast to episodic migraine. We identified 24,000 headache sufferers, drawn from more than 165,000 individuals representative of the US population. This sample has been followed up with annual surveys using validated questionnaires for the diagnosis of episodic migraine and CM. As a part of the survey, subjects were asked to report the specific medications currently used for their most severe headaches, as well as level of satisfaction with treatment. Our sample consisted of 520 individuals with CM and 9,424 with episodic migraine. Over a 3-month period, more than half of the individuals with CM missed at least 5 days of household work, compared with 24.3% of those with episodic migraine (p < 0.001). Reduced productivity in household work for at least 5 days over 3 months was reported by 58.1% and 18.2% (p < 0.001); at least 5 days of missed family activities was reported by 36.9% and 9.5% (p < 0.001). The majority of the CM sufferers (87.6%) had previously sought care to discuss their headaches with a health professional. Migraine-specific acute treatments were used by 31.6% of respondents with CM and 24.8% with episodic migraine. Around 48% of the individuals with CM were satisfied with their acute therapies. Just 33.3% of those with CM were currently using preventive medications. Chronic migraine (CM) is more disabling than episodic migraine in the population. Although most individuals with CM sought medical care for this disorder, the majority did not receive specific acute or preventive medications.
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            Economic burden of transformed migraine: results from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study.

            To evaluate the impact of incident transformed migraine on health care resource utilization, medication use, and productivity loss. In addition, the study estimates the total direct and indirect costs associated with transformed migraine. Emerging evidence indicates that migraine may be a chronic progressive disorder characterized by escalating frequency of headache attacks, often termed transformed migraine. Little is known about the economic impact of transformed migraine. AMPP is a 5-year, national, longitudinal survey study of headache in the US. The study utilized data from the 2006 follow-up survey based on an initial sample of 14,544 adults identified as having migraine in either the 2004 screening or 2005 baseline survey. A diagnosis of migraine was assigned based on criteria proposed by the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition. Participants completed self-administered, validated questionnaires on headache features, frequency, impairment, resource use, medication use, and productivity loss. Direct and indirect headache-related costs were estimated using unit cost assumptions from the PharMetrics Patient-Centric database, wholesale acquisition costs (Red Book), and wage data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who developed transformed migraine were compared with those who did not develop transformed migraine in the 1-2 year interval between screening/baseline and follow-up. A total of 7796 (54%) identified migraine cases completed the 2006 follow-up survey. Of those cases, 359 (4.6%) developed transformed migraine. Participants who developed transformed migraine reported significantly more primary care visits, neurologist or headache specialist visits, pain clinic visits, and emergency room visits compared with participants whose migraine remained episodic. Hospital nights and urgent care visits did not reach statistical significance. Transformed migraine participants reported significantly more time missed at work or school because of headaches and more time where work or school productivity was reduced by >50% in the previous 3 months because of headaches. Average per-person annual total costs, including direct and indirect costs, were 4.4-fold greater for those who developed transformed migraine ($7750) compared with those who remained episodic ($1757). Transformed migraine exacts a significantly higher economic toll on patients and health care systems compared with other forms of migraine. Our findings support the need to prevent migraine progression and to provide appropriate management and treatment of transformed migraine.
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              A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of intrathecal ziconotide in adults with severe chronic pain.

              Safety and efficacy data from a study of slow intrathecal (IT) ziconotide titration for the management of severe chronic pain are presented. Patients randomized to ziconotide (n = 112) or placebo (n = 108) started IT infusion at 0.1 microg/hour (2.4 microg/day), increasing gradually (0.05-0.1 microg/hour increments) over 3 weeks. The ziconotide mean dose at termination was 0.29 microg/hour (6.96 microg/day). Patients' baseline Visual Analogue Scale of Pain Intensity (VASPI) score was 80.7 (SD 15). Statistical significance was noted for VASPI mean percentage improvement, baseline to Week 3 (ziconotide [14.7%] vs. placebo [7.2%; P = 0.036]) and many of the secondary efficacy outcomes measures. Significant adverse events (AEs) reported in the ziconotide group were dizziness, confusion, ataxia, abnormal gait, and memory impairment. Discontinuation rates for AEs and serious AEs were comparable for both groups. Slow titration of ziconotide, a nonopioid analgesic, to a low maximum dose resulted in significant improvement in pain and was better tolerated than in two previous controlled trials that used a faster titration to a higher mean dose.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                08 September 2015
                : 8
                : 603-606
                [1 ]Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
                [2 ]Department of Neurology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
                [3 ]Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
                [4 ]Department of Neurosurgery, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
                [5 ]Department of Orthopedics, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
                [6 ]Reeve-Irvine Research Center for Spinal Cord Injury, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Eric Chang, Restore Orthropedics & Spine Center, 1120 West La Veta Ave. Suite 300, Orange, CA 92868, USA, Tel +1 657 210 4096, Fax +1 657 210 4233, Email: echang@ 123456restoreorthopedics.com
                © 2015 Narain et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Case Report

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                intrathecal pump, chronic pain, symptoms, migraine, ziconotide


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