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
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.
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 www.headaches.org or call 1-888-NHF-5552 (M-F. 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. CT).
SOURCE National Headache Foundation