Background in Pain & Headache Management
Information for Patients. Paul is a clinical pharmacologist, developer of new medicines and a pain management physician. Paul trained in medicine at the University of Adelaide and did postgraduate training in clinical pharmacology and internal medicine the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Paul has been involved in the development of new medicines for the last 25 years especially for those in the management of migraine and pain. Much of that time was in the United Kingdom but he returned to Australia in 2005 to take up the post as Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide, where he is currently Director of Innovation.
I have been involved in the research on new medicines for migraine and have been running specialist clinics in migraine and headache for over 25 years. This was initially in the UK and then in Australia from 2005.
Paul has authored over 130 research publications and 3 chapters in the definitive textbook “The Headaches”.
His publications can be viewed from the Google Scholar profile.
Migraine is the commonest cause of disability in adults aged under 50 in the developed world.
The commonest type of headache is called tension-type headache, which most of us get from time to time.
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Names of medicines
Medicines usually have two names.
One, the generic name is the internationally approved names for the active ingredient in the medicine.
The second name is the brand name, ie the name of that manufacturer’s brand of that generic product. For new drugs, there is only one manufacturer, hence one brand name. Once the drug is older and can be made by other manufacturers, they may be many brand names but only one generic. This is why there is less risk of double-prescribing if you use the generic name.
Another advantage of the generic name is that drugs with similar action have generic names with similar ending. For example, all the beta-blockers we use in migraine have generic names that finish in “-olol”. An excellent more detailed explanation can be found on the website of NPS (https://www.nps.org.au/medical-info/consumer-info/medicines-and-brand-names-explained). NPS is a wonderful resource of unbiased information about drugs. You can also find the consumer medicines information (the leaflet you get with a prescription) and usually the full prescribing information (written for doctors). https://www.nps.org.au.
Given the high burden of headache and migraine, there is a large amount of information on the web which is biased towards convincing a patient to pay for a treatment which has never been shown to be effective. A good question to ask is “Has this treatment been shown to be effective in a blinded randomised clinical trial? Can you show me the publication to share with my doctor?” If the answer to either question is no, be very careful.
The website of migraine charities and professional associations are usually reliable.
Reliable sources include: