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What is inhaled dihydroergotamine (DHE) for migraine treatment?

A special new inhaled form of dihydroergotamine (DHE) called Levadex may offer faster pain relief than other currently available options. The delivery device resembles those used for asthma medications. In one study, nearly 30% of people taking the drug experienced significant pain relief after 30 minutes—and some as early as 10 minutes. The drug also eased patients' nausea and sensitivity to sound and light.

The most common side effect, which affected about 6% of those on the drug, was an unpleasant taste. Additional testing in adults with asthma suggests that they tolerate the drug well, despite their compromised lung function. Still, some experts are concerned that delivering a potent vasoconstricting drug directly to the lungs on a regular basis might increase the risk of pulmonary hypertension, a form of abnormally high blood pressure affecting the lungs that causes severe shortness of breath and lightheadedness.

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