Is There Hope For Migraine Sufferers?

Migraine is a disabling condition. People may experience recurrent attacks of severe headache, affecting their ability to work, interact and move in certain areas, particularly those with too much light and noise. 

Estimates show that 47 million people suffer from migraine in the U.S. In six million of those people, the condition may be chronic, giving them an average of 15 headache days every month, Stephen Silberstein, a neurologist at Thomas Jefferson University and director of the Jefferson Headache Center, told The New York Times

Migraine can also be bad for employers because of absenteeism and presenteeism, or the person’s inability to function effectively in the workplace. In the U.S., companies spend $11 billion in direct medical and related costs and $11 billion in indirect costs because of extreme headache, according to Wayne Burton, former global corporate medical director at American Express. 

But there is good news for millions of people suffering from migraine. The latest advances in the medical community offer medications designed to prevent or reduce attacks and wearable devices that could relieve pain in the head. 

“It’s time to destigmatize migraine and provide sufferers with effective treatment,” David Dodick, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, said. “They’re not fakers, weak individuals who are trying to get out of work.”

To date, people can choose from four oral drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a migraine treatment. The medications fall in the categories of anti-seizure and beta-blockers drugs.  

Other drug options come from the new class of compounds called gepants. One study showed that taking 50 milligrams of the oral medications could effectively reduce pain and other migraine symptoms. 

There are also options for people who want to try drug-free treatments. Sufferers of chronic migraine may take injections of Botox to manage the symptoms of the condition. 

Another option to treat severe headache is an armband called Nerivio Migra offered by Theranica. The device can be connected to a smartphone to send weak electrical pulses to the skin. 

Silberstein noted that people should see a health expert before taking such medications or migraine treatments. There have been cases of abuse of medication since people assume they can or should deal with the problem alone.

Migraine Estimates show that 47 million people suffer from migraine in the U.S. Pixabay