Jessica Ailani, MD: Overcoming Barriers and Closing Gaps in Migraine


The director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center discussed the barriers to patient and clinician education in migraine and the gap in available interventions for the diverse patient population.

"I think that we could probably create another 15 to 20 drugs, and then maybe we’ll start to feel like we have enough tools to manage. Migraine is such a complex disease—it’s not a one-fit for every patient—so having numerous molecules available to us is really important."

Two big topics of conversation at the 2019 American Headache Society (AHS) Annual Meeting, July 11-14, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were the dual-pronged difficulties which exist in migraine medicine today: The education barrier and the treatment gap.

The barrier lies in the lack of diagnostic and treatment understanding on the clinician side, and the simple knowledge of the diagnosis itself among patients—many of whom it appears do not know migraine is a diagnosable disease. The gap, meanwhile, lies in the available treatments for migraine, which, while increasing in number, lack the specificity and detailed understanding that migraine specialists require to treat a patient population of upward of 40 million.

To find out more about these challenges and how they are currently being addressed by physicians, NeurologyLive® sat with Jessica Ailani, MD, director, MedStar Georgetown Headache Center, and associate professor, neurology, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, to discuss these ongoing efforts in drug development. Additionally, Ailani shared her insight into what the ideal future may hold for migraine medicine, and just how far off the field is from getting there.

For more coverage of AHS 2019, click here.

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