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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Researchers in Massachusetts are testing a new patch that could help migraine-sufferers get relief faster with fewer side effects.

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Glen Brown has been battling migraines since he was a teenager.

“It’s a really bad throbbing headache, a lot of times behind my eyes. Sometimes they are moderate, sometimes severe. Between work, house stuff and the kids, life is busy. So if you have a migraine you are out of commission,” says Brown.

Brown has three or four migraines a month and relies on oral migraine medications, which can take time to work.

“A medication taken in tablet form doesn’t really get absorbed well enough or rapidly enough to provide effective headache relief,” says Dr. Egilius Spierings of Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Now, researchers are testing an experimental patch that could provide faster relief.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The patch from Zosano Pharma uses tiny needles coated with medication to deliver a migraine drug right into the bloodstream.

“Once the patch is applied to the skin, these microneedles will penetrate the skin, generally not even deep enough to hit the nerve, so it’s not a painful procedure. But deep enough to bring the medication into the circulation”, says Dr. Spierings.

Brown has been using the patch for six months. He says it’s providing relief in just 20 to 45 minutes and he doesn’t feel as sluggish.

“It makes a huge difference because then you can get back to your day whatever you are doing,” says Brown.

Currently, about 250 patients are enrolled in the study to test the new patch.

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So far, researchers say the patients are tolerating it well with no serious side effects.