The associate professor and director of the Headache Medicine Fellowship Program at Thomas Jefferson University discussed the barriers to the use of preventive medicines.
"Most of society sees [migraine] as a nuisance—even something that’s the fault of the person who has it. There’s a lot that goes on with the thinking and conceptualization on both the patient and provider side. That’s the foundation we’re left with.”
In an effort to characterize preventive treatment gaps in migraine, Stephanie J. Nahas, MD, and colleagues conducted the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) study and presented their data at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 17-22. In total, 39% of those included in the analytical sample reported suffering 4 or more monthly headache days (MHDs), but 80.2% of this group reported never using a daily oral migraine preventive.
Among those who discontinued prevention with 4 or more MHDs, factors contributing to discontinuation included concerns regarding safety and tolerability in 44.6% of patients and insufficient efficacy in 34.8% of patients. Nahas, associate professor and director of the Headache Fellowship Program at Thomas Jefferson University, noted that these issues start with the growing number of patients who remain undiagnosed.
In an interview with NeurologyLive, Nahas detailed the reasons for the underutilization of preventive migraine treatments among this patient population, while stressing the stigmas from society that push patients away from seeking the medication attention they need.