Largest Study Ever of Migraine Sufferers Reveals Preventive Therapies Remain Untapped

PHILADELPHIA, June 24, 2005 – Findings from the largest study of headache sufferers ever conducted sponsored by the National Headache Foundation were presented today. Results from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study indicate that 40 percent of migraine sufferers – or nearly 12 million people – could benefit from preventive therapies. Of migraine sufferers in the study, only one in five Americans currently uses preventive therapies, however, millions could benefit from these treatments. The results, presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Headache Society, underscore the need for more dialogue between healthcare providers and migraine sufferers to ensure all treatment options are explored.

“The ultimate goal of every migraine patient and their healthcare provider is a life with fewer interruptions caused by migraine pain and disability,” said Richard B. Lipton, M.D., lead study researcher, professor and vice chair of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and director of the Montefiore Headache Unit. “Preventive medications can decrease migraine occurrence by 50 to 80 percent, as well as reduce the severity and duration of migraines that do occur. Preventive treatment is considerably underused as demonstrated in this study.”
Quality of Life Affected

The AMPP Study shows that almost 98 percent of people with frequent migraines take medications, but a large majority report their lives are still negatively impacted by the pain and debilitation associated with migraine.

According to the study, nine out of 10 sufferers report they can’t “function normally” during days in which a migraine strikes, and nearly three in 10 require bed rest. More than 25 percent missed at least one day of work over the past three months due to a migraine, and almost 50 percent report their migraines prevented them from doing household chores. Approximately 80 percent of migraine sufferers experience abnormal sensitivity to light and noise, and almost 75 percent report nausea and vomiting. Nearly 79 percent experience pulsating, throbbing pain.

“For those who don’t have migraines, it is often difficult to understand the pain and life-altering effect these headaches have on the sufferer and their family,” said Suzanne Simons, executive director of the National Headache Foundation in Chicago. “Our goal is not only to help those suffering from migraines but also to educate Americans that migraines are a legitimate neurobiologic disease with profound social and economic costs.”

Treating migraines and helping to prevent them differs. Treating migraines means taking medication after a sufferer’s migraine starts and waiting for relief. Preventing means taking a daily prescription medication to help reduce the number of migraines a sufferer gets and possibly reduce the length and intensity of a migraine.

About the AMPP Study

The AMPP Study is based on data examining nearly 163,000 Americans age 12 and older selected to be representative of the U.S. population. Based on a validated questionnaire, researchers reviewed headache symptoms and frequency, impairment, current or past use of migraine prevention medications (prescribed and/or over-the-counter) and use of medications prescribed for other indications but known to prevent migraine headaches (coincident use). Researchers plan to conduct longitudinal follow-up studies in coming years to assess the impact of preventive therapy versus non-treatment of American headache sufferers.

The AMPP Study was conducted for the National Headache Foundation through funding from Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc.

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