The National Headache Foundation Unveils Migraine Prevention Consensus Statement

Summit Held to Discuss Issues Surrounding Migraine and Current Treatment

Strategies Demonstrate the Unmet Need of Patients Suffering from Migraine

Jan 30, 2007, 00:00 ET from National Headache Foundation

    CHICAGO, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Headache
 Foundation (NHF) announced the release of a consensus statement aimed at
 migraine prevention as determined by an expert panel convened at the
 Migraine Prevention Summit. Migraine, which affects nearly 30 million
 Americans, is underdiagnosed in a majority of patients due to a breakdown
 in doctor -- patient communication and a low patient awareness of available
 treatment options. The consensus statement was created by a panel including
 a neurologist, a primary care physician, a physician assistant, a nurse
 practitioner and a patient who suffers from migraine.
     "I believe that this consensus statement serves as a major step forward
 for patients suffering from migraine and will foster better communication
 between patients and their healthcare team which will result in improved
 migraine care," said Suzanne Simons, Executive Director of the National
 Headache Foundation.
     Consensus Statement Overview: Focus on Prevention
     The understanding of migraine has evolved over the past 10 to 15 years,
 influencing approaches to disease management and changing the perception
 that migraine was only an episodic disorder. In their full consensus
 statement, experts explain that migraine is now viewed as a chronic
 disorder with episodic manifestations and must be treated as such. For
 example, healthcare teams are encouraged to assess the patient's impairment
 due to migraine both during and between attacks. Impairment during the
 attack may be linked to bed rest needed, lost or less productive work time,
 or missed activities. Impairment between attacks or interictal burden
 should also be evaluated. Interictal burden may include worrying or
 thinking about the next migraine attack that leads to an inability to plan
 daily activities due to concern that a migraine may occur. The consensus
 statement recommends that healthcare teams should not only probe about
 impairment during a migraine attack but also about impairment between the
 attacks as patients may simply accept this interictal burden as part of the
 disease and may not proactively discuss it.
     Recent studies have showcased the need for awareness of preventive
 treatment options among migraine sufferers and provided evidence to show
 that migraine may progress as a disease in some patients. In addition,
 guidelines for initiating preventive therapy have been developed to
 minimize the frequency and intensity of attacks. Guidelines for initiating
 preventive therapy include:
       * Frequency of headache greater than or equal to 2 per month with
         disability greater than or equal to 3 days per month
       * Recurring migraines that, in the patient's opinion, significantly
         interfere with daily routines
       * Use of acute medication more than 2 times a week
       * Acute medications are contraindicated, not tolerated, or are
     The consensus statement addresses the need for awareness of preventive
 treatment options and suggests that healthcare professionals work with
 patients to properly assess the frequency of attacks and the disability
 caused by migraine, so that an appropriate treatment regimen may be
     "The panel was eager to discuss how we can better communicate with
 patients suffering from migraine and more quickly identify their needs,"
 said Richard B. Lipton, MD, professor and vice chair of neurology at the
 Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and director of the
 Montefiore Headache Unit. "As a medical community, we are always looking to
 improve upon our treatment practices and this served as an ideal format."
     While there are many treatment options and strategies available to
 patients with migraine, the experts agree that patient education remains
 central to optimal care. Patients are likely to adhere to treatment
 recommendations, including medication and lifestyle modifications, once
 they have a greater understanding of their disease and treatment options.
     About the Studies
     The consensus statement was based on two breakthrough migraine studies,
 The American Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) study and the American
 Migraine Communications Study (AMCS).
     Findings from the AMPP study, the largest study on migraine ever
 conducted, show that while migraine affects 17 percent of women and six
 percent of men, only 56 percent of patients self-report their diagnosis.
 The study also found that while nearly 40 percent of patients may benefit
 from preventive therapy, only 13 percent are currently using a preventive
 medication. In addition, nearly half of all migraine patients are unaware
 of preventive treatment options.
     In the second study discussed, AMCS found that there is a significant
 need for improved communication between patients suffering from migraine
 and healthcare professionals. In fact, only 10 percent of patient visits
 addressed migraine impairment in any way. The study concluded that
 healthcare professionals must use open-ended questions, such as "how do
 migraines impact your daily life," to facilitate an accurate assessment of
 total impairment (during and between attacks) due to migraine.
     The Migraine Prevention Summit was conducted by the National Headache
 Foundation through funding from Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc.
     About Migraine
     Migraine is characterized by throbbing pain, usually located on one
 side of the head, often accompanied by nausea or sensitivity to light and
 sound. The combination of disabling pain and associated symptoms often
 prevents sufferers from performing daily activities. The uncertainty of
 when attacks may occur leads to additional patient burden. Symptoms,
 incidence and severity vary by individual. Attacks can last anywhere from
 four to 72 hours.
     About The National Headache Foundation
     The National Headache Foundation, founded in 1970 and celebrating its
 36th anniversary, is a nonprofit organization and exists to enhance the
 healthcare of headache sufferers. It is a source of help to sufferers'
 families, physicians who treat headache sufferers, allied healthcare
 professionals and to the public. The NHF accomplishes its mission by
 providing educational and informational resources, supporting headache
 research and advocating for the understanding of headache as a legitimate
 neurobiological disease. For more information on headache causes and
 treatments, visit or call 1-888-NHF-5552 (M-F. 9 a.m. to
 5 p.m. CT).

SOURCE National Headache Foundation