New Survey Reveals Critical Demand for Fast Migraine Relief

-Experts Urge a Personalized Approach to Managing Complex Disease-

Jun 07, 2010, 09:00 ET from National Headache Foundation

CHICAGO, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- If an average day begins as a hectic race to get the kids off to school and get to work on time, imagine starting that day with a migraine. For many of the nation's 30 million migraine sufferers whose lives are often turned upside down by their migraines, relief can't come soon enough. In a new survey released today by the National Headache Foundation (NHF), 3 in 4 migraine sufferers said their current medication doesn't work fast enough to get them back to their life when a migraine strikes suddenly or upon waking. These findings are being released as part of National Headache Awareness Week, June 6-12, and the NHF's 40th anniversary. The survey was supported by Zogenix, Inc. and Astellas Pharma US, Inc.

"Migraine knowledge and treatments have advanced exponentially over the last 40 years, but these new study findings are a reminder that we have only begun to scratch the surface of this complex, biological disease," said Robert Dalton, executive director, NHF. "More education, along with awareness and adoption of the newest treatment options, is critical for migraine sufferers who are not experiencing fast relief from their current medications."

Headache-related activities such as screenings and public education forums are being hosted around the country during National Headache Awareness Week to bring attention to the nationwide problem of headache and to encourage sufferers to recognize their headache patterns and seek help.

Key Survey Findings

In the national survey, 500 migraine sufferers were asked about their migraine attacks, treatment satisfaction and experiences, and desired prescription medication attributes:

  • The majority of sufferers (54%) said their prescription oral migraine medication is not useful for every migraine attack, yet less than 20% use another prescribed medication when an oral tablet is not an option
  • Nearly 1 in 4 who don't use another prescription medication simply endure their headaches

"It is critical that both physicians and patients communicate about the nature and impact of the migraines so they can choose the best treatment plan for them. Every migraine is not the same, so a single treatment approach may not work," said Roger Cady, M.D., vice president of the NHF board of directors, and director of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, MO.  "Fast-acting, non-oral treatment options are needed particularly for those who experience migraine attacks associated with sudden onset, waking, nausea or vomiting."

Additional key findings from the survey show that:

Sufferers Aren't Satisfied and Highlight the Need for Speed in Migraine Relief

  • A majority of sufferers (51%) are dissatisfied overall with their current medication
  • The most desired prescription medication attribute offered "the fastest relief possible regardless of form" (41%), followed by an "ability to use the medication and return to normal activities" (38%)

One Treatment Doesn't Fit All Migraine Attacks

  • Rapid onset migraine was the most common type of attack, affecting 69% of respondents
  • 66% also experience migraines with nausea and/or vomiting

Patient-Physician Dialogue isn't Translating to Better Treatment

  • Most sufferers (roughly 2/3) have told their doctor that their prescription oral treatment doesn't work for all of their migraine attacks, yet only 1 in 4 say their doctor has told them they need more than one drug to manage their variable attacks

"I have a stressful job, aging parents to check on, and nine grandchildren whom I love dearly. I am always on the go and don't have time for a migraine," said Sandie Griffin, 55, of Ozark, MO. "Fortunately, my doctor recently prescribed a new medication that quickly relieves my pain, and after years of literally losing days at a time to one headache, I have finally been liberated."

The Enormous Toll of Migraine

Migraine is a debilitating neurological condition characterized by throbbing pain, usually located on one side of the head and often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Women are three times as likely as men to experience migraine. Poorly managed migraine translates to a potentially huge impact on a patient's quality of life — from missed or non-productive work days to lost family and personal time.

The direct and indirect costs associated with migraine are staggering: it is estimated that industry loses $31 billion per year due to absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses caused by migraine. Furthermore an estimated 157 million workdays are lost annually because of the pain and associated symptoms of migraine. The personal toll of migraine also is significant: in a recent study, nine out of 10 migraine sufferers reported they can't "function normally" during days in which a migraine strikes, and nearly three in 10 required bed rest.

Helping People with Headache for 40 Years

June 2010 marks the National Headache Foundation's 40th anniversary. Over the past four decades, the NHF has revolutionized the approach to understanding and treating headache. By advancing migraine education, funding research, and fueling new treatment development, the NHF has led the way in this complex area of medicine. Today, there is a better understanding of the causes behind headache, more comprehensive education for migraine sufferers, and a variety of powerful treatments to tackle this biological disease.

With dozens of public education campaigns, a comprehensive support group network, online learning modules and toolkits, and a toll-free hotline, the NHF has assisted millions of migraine sufferers seek education and treatment for their condition. The NHF has also played a central role promoting the education and research of migraine with physicians, allied healthcare professionals and health care policy decision makers.

"As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, the National Headache Foundation remains steadfast in our commitment to improving the lives of people with migraine by promoting the advancement of headache education and treatment," said Dalton.

About the National Headache Foundation

The NHF is a nonprofit organization that has pioneered the way headaches have been diagnosed and treated over the last 40 years. No other organization provides such comprehensive educational resources and tools to headache sufferers, their families, physicians who treat headache sufferers, allied healthcare professionals and to the public. The leaders of the organization are world-renowned experts in the field who have pulled together many easy-to-use tools and resources to help people better understand headaches and options for headache care.  This information is available on the NHF website at or by calling 1-888-NHF-5552 (M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT).

About the Survey

The National Migraine Treatment Survey was conducted on behalf of the National Headache Foundation via telephone in March 2010. It included a national sample of 500 clinically diagnosed migraine sufferers between the ages of 25 and 45. The survey was supported by Zogenix, Inc. and Astellas Pharma US, Inc.

About the Survey Sponsors

Zogenix, Inc., located in San Diego, Calif., is a privately held pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of medicines to treat neuroscience disorders and pain.  Zogenix also plans to license their patented needle-free drug delivery system to other companies. For additional information on Zogenix please visit

Astellas Pharma US, Inc., located in Deerfield, Illinois, is a U.S. affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in focused areas by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities. In the U.S., Astellas markets products in the areas of anti-infectives, cardiovascular, dermatology, immunology, neuroscience, and urology. For more information about Astellas Pharma US, Inc., please visit


Robert Dalton / National Headache Foundation

312-274-2670 /

Jackie Quintanilla / Edelman

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SOURCE National Headache Foundation