California Wildfire Smoke and Health: Should You Be Concerned?

Wildfire Smoke and Health

Recently, a public health emergency was declared in California due to the outbreak of three deadly wildfires that swept across the Northern and Southern regions. Heavy smoke and ash that blanketed the entire region caused the officials to issue health advisories for the South Coast and Bay Area Air Quality Management Districts.

Smoke from wildfires is linked to severe health problems. It’s essential that people living in the wildfire-prone regions should learn how to stay safe and healthy during an outbreak.

Wildfire Smoke and Health

Why Wildfire Smoke Makes You Sick

Wildfire Smoke is a complex mixture of microscopic particles and gases including carbon monoxide and volatile organic carbon (produced due to the burning of wood and other organic matter). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that exposure to wildfire smoke can make you sick by causing or worsening many health problems that include:

  • Reduced lung function
  • Infectious bronchitis
  • Asthma attack
  • Heart failure
  • Sinus trouble
  • Increased cough

How Does Wildfire Smoke Affect Your Health?

People who are exposed to wildfire smoke can develop a host of health problems as mentioned below:

  • Short-term exposures can aggravate pre-existing health issues like asthma, COPD, decreased lung function, or other lung and heart diseases

  • Long-term exposures can raise the risk of heart and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

How to Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

Use the following measures to safeguard yourself from wildfire smoke:

  • Avoid cigarette smoke
  • Turn on your room air purifiers that have HEPA filters in them.
  • Limit your outdoor activities
  • Remain indoors and shut your windows and doors.
  • Switch on your air conditioners to keep you cool.
  • Avoid burning anything, including stoves and candles.
  • Monitor local news updates for information on fire situation in your area.
  • Stay notified about the local Air Quality Health Index

How to Stay Safe in Case of a Fire Nearby

Here are a few safety measures to follow when facing a fire nearby:

  • Be ready to evacuate the affected spot
  • Leave right away if evacuation is ordered
  • Keep receiving local news alerts
  • Limit your exposure to smoke
  • Assist others once you are safe

Don’t Ignore Health and Safety Warnings

It’s important to pay attention to health and safety warnings, and stay in touch with your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen during a fire, especially if you are:

  • Someone suffering from pre-existing heart or lung disease
  • An older adult who is more likely to develop heart or lung diseases
  • Child, because children have an under-developed respiratory system
  • A diabetic person who is prone to underlying cardiovascular disease
  • A pregnant woman who has potential health risks for herself and the developing fetus

Occupational Health Care – Promoting Health and Safety of Your Employees

Occupational Health Care

Your employees are your most significant investment. When they become sick or get injured on the job, restoring their normal health and function should be your top-most priority. Making sure to prevent your employees from getting sick or hurt in the first place is an even better strategy.

Occupational health care is a fully devoted healthcare domain in the U.S., which is dedicated to managing workforce safety and health. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was passed in 1970 to aid employers and the workers in sustaining a safe and healthful workplace. Having the right occupational health care provider for your establishment is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

Occupational Health Care

What are Occupational Health Services?

Occupational health refers to the various disciplines in the healthcare industry involved with the employees’ wellbeing in the workplace that majorly focuses on injury prevention. Occupational health service helps to protect your employees from occupational health hazards by offering everything from injury prevention and pre-placement health review to injury care and physical treatment.

Occupational health services play a crucial role in:

  • keeping the workplace healthy
  • protecting and encouraging the health and well-being of your workers
  • providing early interventions to avoid employee absence due to illness
  • facilitating employee recovery from illness, while at work
  • supporting workers in resuming work after sickness

What Are the Various Occupational Health Services?

Preventive occupational health care consists of:

  • workplace survey designed to recognize the effects of the job, workplace and work surroundings on employees’ health and working capability
  • physical examinations depending on the health risks
  • participating in activities that boost working capacity
  • guidance for workplace crisis preparedness
  • monitoring employees’ wellbeing, providing rehabilitation therapy and referral for recuperation when working capacity declines.

What Employers Must Know About Occupational Health

It’s the legal responsibility of the employer to arrange for preventive occupational health maintenance for the employees. The employer can get occupational health care services from:

  • occupational health care entities at public health centers
  • municipal enterprises and businesses offering occupational health care
  • occupational health care associations jointly operated by several employers
  • occupational health care divisions at private medical centers.

The employer may also provide in-house services for occupational health care.

What Is the Importance of Occupational Health and Safety?

The workplace has an impact on the physical, psychological, financial and social wellbeing of the employees, and should therefore provide opportunities to enhance their health. To understand the benefits of occupational health and to speed up the prevention of chronic disease, offices need to cover health and wellbeing of their employees in their professional agenda.

Despite having solid practices in place, mishaps do occur, and occupational injuries can lead to loss of time, indemnity costs, and reduced productivity for an employer. Studies have revealed that the same occupational injury can have disastrous consequences on the long-term financial health of the employee. However, you can trust an experienced occupational health care service provider to make a positive difference to your workplace health and safety.

Do Employers Have to Provide Occupational Health?

Investing in employees’ health is a significant step to ensure the wellbeing of your business and your team. Under OSHA, employers are responsible to take care of their staff, so they should ensure reasonable measures to protect their employees’ health, safety, and wellbeing. For this, they should:

  • review and control the impact of work on employees’ health
  • make sure that individuals with health disorders and disabilities are not differentiated against
  • ensure that workers are fit to do their job roles

Why Is Occupational Health Important for Employees?

Occupational health care maintains the work capability of an employee throughout their professional career. It aims to deliver the following to every employee:

  • a healthy and secure work environment
  • a well-functioning work community
  • prevent job-related illnesses
  • preserve and promote functional capacity of the workforce.

Managing occupational injuries can be tough without proper preparation. Choosing the right occupational health care service provider is the key to protecting your greatest assets. If you are looking for an Employer Services Walk-in Clinic near you, trust our medical expertise to care for your entire workforce health needs.

Also Read: Things That You Should Know About Employer Drug Testing

Reasons Why You Should Consider Getting a Flu Shot

Flu Shot

Flu season is quickly approaching, and it is time to take necessary precautions against the influenza virus. Read further to learn more about why you should consider getting a flu shot.

Flu Shot

Why Should You Get a Flu Vaccine?

The flu shot helps your immune system to build the antibodies that it needs to fight off the influenza virus. The flu vaccine saves thousands of lives every year by giving the body an additional line of defense against this common virus.

Who Should Get the Flu Shot?

The flu vaccine is encouraged for small children, the elderly, and anyone who has a compromised immune system. The flu shot is an effective way of boosting your body’s immune system and giving it what it needs to fight the virus. Talk to your doctor and find out if you fall into one of the categories where flu shot is highly recommended.

When Should You Get the Vaccine?

You should receive your vaccine a few weeks before the start of the flu season. This gives the body a chance to build antibodies, and have them in place before your exposure to the virus. If you’ve already been exposed to the virus, the shot will do you little good. Try to schedule an appointment with your doctor well ahead of time.

Why Getting a Flu Shot Is Important?

The flu vaccine has been used for many years to help keep the flu virus under control and prevent it from spreading. The flu can have devastating effects on the elderly and young children who may have a weak or compromised immune system. That’s why having a flu shot administered is essential for your health.

When Is It Too Late to Get the Flu Vaccine?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as long as flu viruses are widespread, it’s not too late to have the flu shot administered; to get protection for yourself and your loved ones. Therefore, it is never too late to obtain a flu vaccine.

Side Effects of the Flu Shot

Many people are afraid of the possible side effects of the flu shot. The most common side effects are a low-grade fever and the possibility of flu-like symptoms that begin within a few hours of receiving the vaccination. The symptoms can last for a few days but usually vanish within a few hours. Over the counter medications can be used to reduce the severity of the symptoms and help you feel better faster. They will also reduce any pain and discomfort at the injection site.

No matter what your age, getting the flu vaccine will help to keep you as healthy as possible all year long. Don’t take any chances and schedule an appointment with our urgent care center today!


Also Read: How to Prepare Yourself for the Cold and Flu Season 2017-2018

West Nile Virus Infection: Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

West Nile Virus

The West Nile Virus is a serious illness that is often the result of being bitten by an infected mosquito. If the symptoms are recognized quickly enough, proper treatment may be able to curtail the infection rather quickly. In some cases, fatigues and muscle aches can last for several months.

West Nile Virus

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

There are several symptoms associated with a West Nile Virus infection. The overall health of the patient before they were exposed to the virus can help determine the severity of the symptoms. Its symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Vision loss
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness

If the person already had a severely compromised immune system, paralysis and coma can also occur.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options of West Nile Virus

Diagnosing a West Nile Virus infection normally involves a simple blood test. If the symptoms are severe and seizures are present, the doctor may order a lumbar puncture or spinal tap to see if the infection has spread to the brain. An MRI will also be able to tell if there is swelling of the brain and the surrounding tissues.

Because it’s a virus, West Nile has no known cure, but you can effectively treat the symptoms if you catch the disease in its earliest stages.

  • Over-the-counter pain medications can lower fever, minimize headaches and muscle pain.
  • Anti-inflammatories can help to manage swelling and inflammation.
  • IV’s and prescription medications may be needed if the infection has spread to the spinal column.

Can West Nile Virus Be Prevented?

The best way to prevent exposure to the West Nile Virus is to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes.

  • Keep your skin covered as much as possible.
  • Use insect repellent whenever you go outside.
  • Get rid of any standing water in your yard or near your home.
  • Use mosquito netting over doors and to cover playpens and car seats.

If you begin to notice the symptoms of West Nile Virus, don’t wait to go to the doctor or visit an urgent care near you. Early detection is essential if you want the treatment to be effective. Visit your doctor immediately so the proper tests can be performed.

Ways to Support the Cause of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast cancer awareness is a campaign that endeavors to raise awareness and diminish the stigma related to breast cancer. One in eight women develop breast cancer, so National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held in October, serves as an occasion to remind all about the importance of early detection.

National Breast Cancer Awareness

As a result of these movements, more and more people can become informed about the traits of breast cancer. This will lead to earlier detection and better treatment outcomes for women afflicted with the disease.

What You Need to Learn About Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In many countries worldwide, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is observed in October, occasionally denoted as Pinktober. Several breast cancer awareness supporters focus their efforts to seek sponsorships for special activities. NBCAM was started in 1985 by the American Cancer Society (ACS) in collaboration with AstraZeneca.

How to Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

How can you become involved in spreading breast cancer awareness this October? You can support the battle against breast cancer by following the ideas mentioned here:

  • Educate yourself by bonding with a family or friend suffering from breast cancer.
  • Contribute money to a breast cancer charity.
  • Participate in one or many of the national or international fundraising walks.
  • Host a simple fundraiser event to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Mont.
  • Donate your time for volunteer opportunities focused on breast cancer awareness.
  • Be proactive and get yourself screened for breast cancer.

The third Friday in October and is called National Mammography Day. This day is dedicated to spreading awareness of the importance of mammograms.

What Signs and Symptoms to Look for

Breast cancer symptoms can differ from person to person. Some common breast cancer symptoms include:

  • Skin changes (swelling or redness in one or both breasts
  • Increased size or shape changes in the breast(s)
  • Visible changes in one or both nipples
  • Nipple discharge besides breast milk
  • Regular pain in the breast(s)
  • Lumps or nodes on or inside the breast(s)

How Can You Get Diagnosed?

Although breast cancer mostly displays no symptoms in the premature stage, timely detection can help reverse the impact altogether. Feeling the presence of a bump or an area of solidified tissue over the breast is the most familiar symptom of breast cancer. Of the lumps, almost 90% are non-cancerous (benign), but any lumps found should be screened for cancer with the help of biopsy techniques such as fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC).

How to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Several factors during your lifespan can influence your risk of developing breast cancer. While some factors are beyond your control, there are measures you can take to help reduce the risk such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding or limiting your alcoholic consumption
  • Using oral contraceptives prescribed by your doctor
  • Breastfeeding your children, if possible.
  • Consulting your doctor for other alternatives to lower your risk if you have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer.

Staying healthy will minimize your risk of developing any type of cancer, and increase your chances of outliving cancer if it occurs.

Tips for Overcoming Sleep Deprivation to Stay Healthy

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is not an extravagance, but vital for boosting your health and wellbeing. However, many adults today hardly get the recommended quantity of sleep each night.

Sleep Deprivation

An Overview of Sleep Deprivation

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that adults should sleep around seven hours each night. However, above 35 % of adults don’t get that amount of sleep at night. Men sleep somewhat lesser compared to women, and people in the age group of 45 to 54 years have less sleep in comparison to any other age group. Moreover, people who are 35 to 44-years-olds aren’t in a better situation.

While middle-age is the most troublesome period for sleep among adults, teens suffer from sleep deprivation far more than the other age groups. Teens require 8 to 10 hours of sleep daily at night, but almost 70 percent of teens have less than eight hours of sleep on school nights, specifically the 12th graders.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

The main symptom of constant sleep loss is extreme daytime sleepiness. However, other symptoms include lack of concentration, mood swings, fatigue, irritability, depressed mood, anxiety, and many more.

Risks of Sleep Deficiency

The lack of a proper amount of sleep places you at a higher risk of worse conditions, compared to those who attain sufficient sleep. Health risk factors linked to sleep deprivation include obesity, drug addiction, physical inactivity, and more.

Additionally, the possibility of chronic health conditions increases with sleep deprivation as well. You are more inclined to suffer from chronic disorders such as heart attack, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, chronic kidney disease, and many more, due to lack of adequate sleep at night.

How to Sleep Well and Stay Healthy

Here are some useful tips for overcoming sleep deprivation problems:

Consider sleep as non-negotiable – Sleep is as essential for health and vitality as eating, drinking, and breathing. Not receiving enough sleep can cause mental and physical health disorders you should never sacrifice sleep for anything.

Understand your sleep requirement – Our sleeping requirements vary with age. Infants need nearly 16 hours a day, while school-going children require around 12 hours and teens need about 10 hours of sleep daily. In adulthood, generally, seven to eight hours of sleep per day is sufficiently managed by many. Maintain your regular sleep schedule as per your health needs.

Create time for sleep – When you consider resting a priority, you plan your life around your sleep routine. Learn how much sleep is essential for you, then block out adequate time to get to sleep for relaxation. Then you will wake up in the morning, minus the worries of work, family, or social responsibilities.

Make sure to have a consistent sleep – Although it’s ordinary for people to go to bed later, and oversleep on weekends, this practice doesn’t support healthy sleep. When you don’t maintain a regular sleep program, you can disturb your body’s circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to have a sufficient sleep at night.

Ensure a healthy bedroom environment to induce sleep – Your bedroom is almost as significant as the way you sleep. You should ensure to maintain a sufficiently quiet, dark and calm atmosphere in your bedroom, as well as a comfortable sleep-mattress to block out light, noise, and discomfort that can affect your healthy sleep.

Bottom Line

While the occasional reduced sleep at night is not a grave problem in itself, continual sleep deprivation can be. Definite measures, such as the tips described above should be undertaken to avoid constant sleep deprivation in persons of all ages.

Vaccinations: Why They Are Important for You and Your Family


Both children and adults can benefit from vaccinations that are designed to protect us from illnesses like polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox. Children especially are susceptible to many of these dangerous diseases. Following the recommended vaccine schedule for their age group is the best way to make sure they are fully protected.


How Do Vaccinations Work?

Vaccinations are made with a small amount of a weakened or dead bacteria or virus. Once you are given the injection, your body’s immune system begins to manufacture the antibodies that are needed to identify and eliminate these intruders so they can’t make you sick. The antibodies created by the immune system will protect the body for many years to come. Over time, however, the antibodies may need a pick-me-up. Doctors can provide a booster shot to ensure that all of your antibodies stay as strong as possible.

Are Vaccines and Immunizations Safe?

Studies have proven time and again that vaccinations are safe. Your child may have a mild reaction to the injection, but any side effects usually disappear within the first few hours of receiving the shot. The vaccinations that are being used today have all been put through batteries of tests to ensure both their safety and their effectiveness. Both the CDC and the FDA closely monitor the testing of vaccinations and other medications to ensure they meet or exceed industry standards for safety.

What Can Vaccines and Immunizations Protect From?

Over the last several decades, vaccinations have saved the lives of countless children who would have otherwise succumbed to measles, mumps, rubella, or any of the other deadly diseases that vaccinations now prevent.

Where Do I Go to Get Vaccinations?

It’s important that you and your children stay up-to-date on your vaccinations. While children will get vaccinations during their annual checkup, you may need to go in and talk to the doctor to determine whether or not you need any booster shots. You can visit an urgent care center if you are concerned about whether or not you are up-to-date on your vaccinations.

Call and schedule an appointment with 8-2-8 Urgent Care in Oceanside, California to find out whether you are up-to-date on your vaccinations and what you need to do to get caught up. Our friendly staff can answer all of your questions and provide you with the vaccinations you need to make sure you are up-to-date.

Also Read: All You Need To Know About Travel Vaccines and Immunizations

Tuberculosis Disease: Risks, Symptoms, and Treatment

Tuberculosis Disease

Tuberculosis or TB has been kept under control for decades by vaccines, but lately, more and more cases are being diagnosed. Almost two million people died from the disease in 2015 and almost 11 million new cases have been reported. There are two types of tuberculosis. Latent TB is inactive. It has no symptoms and isn’t contagious, but it can transition to an active state. Active TB does have symptoms and can get transmitted from one person to another.

Tuberculosis Disease

How is TB Caused? Is it Contagious?

Tuberculosis is triggered by bacteria that circulate from person to person through tiny droplets distributed into the air. This can occur when an individual with the untreated, active type of tuberculosis coughs, speaks, laughs, sneezes, spits, or sings.

Even though TB is contagious, it can be difficult for a person to contract. If a person has the disease and has received the correct tuberculosis treatment for at least two weeks or longer, they can’t pass-on the disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Tuberculosis?

The symptoms of TB are similar to those of the common cold and flu virus. Because they resemble one another so closely, doctors often misdiagnose the patient. A few common symptoms of TB include:

  • Congestion in the lungs
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Cough and night sweats disrupting your sleep patterns

How Is TB Diagnosed?

In order to rule out TB, a skin test is performed:

  • A small amount of extract made from TB bacteria is injected into the skin of the forearm.
  • If a rash appears after two or three days, the test is positive. If not, the person doesn’t have TB.
  • This type of test isn’t always accurate so if a positive result is received, other tests are performed.

Who Can Get Infected with Tuberculosis?

The following individuals are at the risk of getting infected with TB:

  • Highest risk for people with a compromised immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS or autoimmune disorders.
  • People who are malnourished or don’t eat like they should, also have an increased risk.
  • The risk is also much higher in individuals who smoke or are exposed to airborne contaminants as part of their job.
  • Listed as one of the main three causes of death in women who fall between the ages of 15 and 45.

Can It Be Prevented?

The best way to prevent TB is to avoid being around individuals who are infected with the disease. Wash your hands frequently and eat a healthy diet so that your immune system is strong and resilient.

Can You Get Cured from Tuberculosis?

While once thought to be a disease of the past, TB is making a comeback. Tuberculosis treatment has to evolve to include newer more advanced options. Certain antibiotics must be used to treat TB due to the fact that many strains have become resistant to the traditional antibiotics used in the past.

If you have questions about tuberculosis treatment or what the symptoms of the disease are, contact your primary care physician.

A Detailed Guide to Ketogenic Diet Program for Beginners

Ketogenic Diet

You might have heard about the immensely popular ketogenic or keto diet. It includes a very low-carb but high-fat diet that offers many benefits including improved health, weight loss, better physical and mental performance, and a lot more. If you are planning to start the ketogenic diet, you must consider certain vital things before embarking on your keto journey.

Ketogenic Diet

Here is a handy guide to provide you with the essential information on the ketogenic diet for maintaining a proper keto lifestyle.

What Is the Mechanism of the Ketogenic Diet?

The keto diet is popularly known by many different names including ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc. When you consume high carb foods, your body manufactures glucose and insulin. Since the glucose is the principal energy source, your fats are not required and are therefore accumulated in the body.

By limiting the intake of carbs, the body is impelled into a state called ketosis. Ketosis is a normal process the body starts to help us remain alive when food intake is minimal. During this state, your body produces ketones from the fat degeneration in the liver.

The end goal of a correctly followed keto diet is to propel your body into this metabolic condition where it will start to burn ketones as the key energy source.

Who Should Not Try the Keto Diet?

Ideally, it’s always good to consult your doctor before beginning this regimen. With that mentioned, “the keto diet isn’t advised for the individuals who:

  • Have a gastrointestinal problem
  • Are suffering from liver or kidney diseases
  • Had their gallbladder removed
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have certain rare genetic ailments

Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet

Numerous benefits come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Here are some benefits you can beget from a ketogenic diet:

  • Weight Loss
  • Controlled Blood Sugar
  • Improved Mental Focus
  • Increased Energy & Normalized Hunger
  • Epilepsy Cure
  • Appropriate Cholesterol & Blood Pressure Levels
  • Healthy Insulin Range
  • Acne Cure

What You Should and Should Not Consume on a Keto Diet

What you should intake depends on how quickly you want to enter a ketogenic state. The more particular you are on your carbohydrates (below 15g per day), the quicker you will enter ketosis.

What Not to Eat
You cannot eat the following types of foods:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Refined sugars
  • Fruits
  • Tubers
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Refined Oils

What to Eat
You can consume the following types of foods:

  • Meats
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Leafy greens & above ground vegetables
  • Natural fats
  • High-fat dairy
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocado and other low glycemic impact berries
  • Low-carb sweeteners and dark chocolates

What to Drink
You can drink the following beverage items:

  • Water
  • Coffee with some cream minus sugar
  • Black or herbal tea
  • Bone broth/soup
  • Limited Alcohol minus beer

Common Adverse Effects of Keto Diet

While your body is adjusting to exhausting ketones as your new energy source, you may undergo a range of unpleasant short-term symptoms. These symptoms are called “the keto flu” which occur due to low-sodium levels in your body. Some common side effects include:

  • A headache and Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Heart Palpitations

Migraine Prevention: The First Drug Gets Approved by the FDA

Migraine Prevention

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the pharma drug Aimovig in May 2018, patients with headaches will have a new choice to resolve the problem. It’s the first drug of its kind, designed to prevent chronic migraines.

Migraine Prevention

Here are ways that Aimovig and other new drugs will help bring pain relief to patients:

Intensity of Migraines

About 25% of U.S. households have some type of migraine problem, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Roughly 10 million Americans experience migraines on a regular basis, particularly female adults in their 30s. These severe headaches can last for many hours and sometimes multiple days. The symptoms of this painful condition include:

  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe throbbing pain concentrated in one area of the head

The Mayo Clinic says that some people experience tingling on one side of the face or in a limb. Some of the causes of migraines may be stress, poor diet and insufficient sleep time. According to the FDA, one-third of individuals who suffer migraines are able to sense the onset from visual and other sensory disturbances. Some people see flashing lights, while others experience vision loss. Although lifestyle changes and medications have helped reduce pain in the past, the arrival of Aimovig reflects a major advancement in improved treatment.

How Aimovig Works in Migraine Prevention

Aimovig is a product of a joint venture between California-based Amgen Inc. and Swiss pharma developer Novartis AG. The new drug is self-administered with a monthly injection from a pen-like device that costs $6,900 per year if the patient lacks medical insurance.

A recent study showed that patients receiving Aimovig reduced the number of days with migraines from eight to four per month. Even control group subjects who were given dummy shots saw a reduction of two migraine days. The side effects of colds and respiratory infections affected both groups. Most of the participants encountered at least one less episode of migraines per month. In some cases of the three clinical trials, migraines were completely eliminated.

More Testing Needed

One of the reasons patients abandon pain treatments is due to unsatisfactory results that include negative side effects. Aimovig will need further testing by Amgen to determine long-term safety. The company will be focused on how well this migraine prevention drug works for pregnant women. Meanwhile, three other new shots and several pills are expected to be approved in the next year.