Research being presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s Annual Scientific Meeting describes a treatment called image-guided, intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) blocks to give patients enough ongoing relief that they required less medication to relieve migraine pain.
“Migraine headaches are one of the most common, debilitating diseases in the United States, and the cost and side effects of medicine to address migraines can be overwhelming,” said Kenneth Mandato, M.D., the study’s lead researcher and an interventional radiologist at Albany Medical Center. “Intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are image-guide, targeted, breakthrough treatments. They offer a patient-centered therapy that has the potential to break the migraine cycle and quickly improve patients’ quality of life,” he added.
While patients reported relief from migraines, Mandato added that SPG blocks are not a cure for migraines; they are a temporary solution as are other current treatment options for chronic headaches.
“Administration of lidocaine to the sphenopalatine ganglion acts as a ‘reset button’ for the brain’s migraine circuitry,” said Mandato. “When the initial numbing of the lidocaine wears off, the migraine trigger seems to no longer have the maximum effect that it once did. Some patients have reported immediate relief and are making fewer trips to the hospital for emergency headache medication,” he said. Because of the minimally invasive nature of the treatment and the medication’s safety profile, Mandato believes patients can have the SPG block repeated, if needed.