Chronic Migraine Is Underdiagnosed and Undertreated

MAY 09, 2013
Only half of all patients who report experiencing symptoms that would fulfill migraine diagnostic criteria have received a formal migraine diagnosis from a physician. At the 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Pain Society, Richard Wenzel, PharmD, said that so many patients go undiagnosed and undertreated in part because diseases of the brain do not have a biological marker of disease, and there are not many tools available to measure disease severity and impact of migraine.
Wenzel, from the Diamond Headache Clinic Inpatient Unit at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, IL, discussed the prevalence and impact of migraine, effective diagnostic and management strategies, and the strengths and limitations of various medications for migraine during “Update on Migraine Treatment” at the Pharmacotherapy Special Interest Group Wednesday, May 8, at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Pain Society.
Migraine is a pervasive and debilitating condition that affects 30 million people in the US, 22 million of whom are women. One in four US households has at least one migraine sufferer. Nine out of 10 patients with migraine report they cannot function normally during a migraine attack; three in 10 require bed rest. At least one in four migraine patients have missed at least one day of work over the last three months due to their illness.
Wenzel outlined several general goals for migraine treatment, as established by the US Headache Consortium. He said first and foremost, the physician should establish a diagnosis of migraine and create a formal management plan outlining a pharmacotherapy regimen and any non-pharmacologic measures the physician recommends.

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