"Migraine treatment has come a long way in the past five years," Dr. Silberstein said. He explained that the key factor in treatment advances is the development of triptans, drugs that are capable of combining with neuronal receptors in the brain to initiate drug actions. Dr. Silberstein spoke in New York today at an American Medical Association media briefing on advances in neurology .
About 25 to 30 million Americans experience migraine headaches and many more are undiagnosed. Migraine is more prevalent in women: 18 percent of women and six percent of men (12 percent of the overall U.S. population) are affected by migraine headaches. The annual cost of migraine is 17 billion dollars in health care and lost labor costs in the United States alone. Dr. Silberstein commented that some patients who have episodic (occasional) migraines (the most common) eventually develop chronic migraines (those that occur more than 15 days per month; occurs in 2 percent of patients.) There are many risk factors for chronic migraine, Dr. Silberstein said, such as obesity, snoring, stressful life events and overuse of pain medications, among others.
Patients often unwittingly aggravate the frequency and severity of their migraine by taking too much acute medication, causing medication overuse headache. The International Headache Society has recently released guidelines that define overuse of acute medications as the use of opioids, triptans or combination analgesics for more than 10 days per month or simple analgesics (pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen) for more than 15 days per month.
"One of the great
Contact: Jeffrey Baxt
American Medical Association