News & Research, Treatment

Carbon Dioxide as Migraine Abortive

A device that sends pressurized carbon dioxide up one nostril and out the other, without the patient inhaling it, appears to abort migraines rapidly and effectively. Findings from the Phase II study on the device were reported at this week’s annual meeting of the American Neurological Association. In the study, almost 30% of patients suffering from migraine attacks were pain-free within two hours of using the device.

Here’s how and why it appears to work:

“While the gas is flowing, carbon dioxide readily permeates the nasal mucous membranes creating carbonic acid and decreasing the pH of the nociceptive nerve fibers, Dr. Spierings said. The acidosis created is potent enough to prevent stimulation of neurons and activation of the pain cascade. A bystander effect that follows prevents activation throughout the trigeminal nerve system.”

Researchers expect to begin Phase III trials early next year. I’m curious to see how the research plays out.

Note: Pam pointed out in her comments that I wrote carbon monoxide, instead of dioxide! My mind auto-completed (or began) the word wrong. I’m such a dork. (updated Sept. 28, 10:44 a.m.)

3 thoughts on “Carbon Dioxide as Migraine Abortive”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Pam! My brain filled in the wrong word and I never would have noticed if you hadn’t pointed it out. I just fixed the post.


  2. Um… you say carbon monoxide. The quote says carbon dioxide. There’s a big difference between the two. Carbon monoxide is deadly posionous. Carbon dioxide is what people exhale as a natural part of breathing.

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