21-year-old lifelong migraine sufferer finally finds relief

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A 21-year-old Columbia resident said she has gone from blinding, debilitating pain everyday for most of her life to only having to manage her pain once a month.

Kayla Smith said it all started when she was in fifth grade.

“Oh, it’s very scary," Smith said. “Especially when you don’t know what’s going on.”

Smith remembered when her health took a turn in a classroom.

“I had a really bad headache and I was puking everywhere," Smith said. “It was awful.”

Smith said the pain was so great she couldn’t hear.

“And then my mom took me to the doctor, and they were like, ‘Yep, you have migraines,’” Smith said.

Since fifth grade, Smith said she’s taken an array of medicines that either didn’t work or had side effects, leaving her with daily migraines. She said she talked to her doctor about changing that after her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“And I told him, ya know, I want something different instead of taken daily medication at night, because it kills your insides,” Smith said.

Her doctor, Hattiesburg Clinic Neurologist Dr. Wendell Helveston, had a new medicine he wanted Smith to try.

“This year, we have had the approval of three new medications that work with a different mechanism of action than Botox for chronic migraine,” Helveston said.

Helveston said Smith now takes Aimovig, or Erenumab. He said it’s an injectable medicine that works by stopping the pain from getting to the brain stem. So, stopping a migraine before it can start.

“It’s the first significant advance we’ve had in 10 years with new therapy for migraine," Helveston said. “These drugs are very effective and have a very favorable side effect profile.”

Helveston said Aimovig has been a godsend to migraine sufferers. He said it’s one injection once a month. Smith started her injections two months ago and said she has only had two migraines in that amount of time compared to one migraine a day.

“I don’t really have to worry about it affecting my work daily and affecting even everything that I do,” Smith said.

If you’re interested in learning more about Aimovig, you can reach Hattiesburg Clinic’s Neurology Department at (601) 268-5620.

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