In her presentation at a Teva-sponsored satellite symposium that took place during the 19th Congress of the International Headache Society (IHC), Audrey Craven (Migraine Association of Ireland) highlighted how important it is to consider the perspective of patients when treating migraine.
Challenges faced by patients with difficult-to-treat migraine
During her presentation, Audrey Craven highlighted challenges that, in her opinion, are faced by patients with difficult-to-treat migraine. One key challenge is the limited access of preventive treatments to patients who do not receive headache-specialized treatment. A recent longitudinal, web-based study has highlighted accessing medical consultation, being diagnosed accurately, and receiving appropriate pharmacological interventions as the three key barriers to good medical care.1
Ms Craven stated that migraine patients are misunderstood and stigmatized as a result of their migraine affliction. This is supported by a recent global, cross-sectional survey of patients in which 85% of all respondents reported negative aspects of living with migraine, including feeling helpless, depressed and misunderstood.2
“Migraine not only affects the person who lives with the condition, but it also affects the family and society at large.”
– Audrey Craven (Migraine Association of Ireland)
Finishing her analysis of the challenges faced by patients, Ms Craven described how migraine is a very disabling disease that impacts patients, their relatives and society as a whole. In her opinion, the presence of comorbidities further amplifies the negative effect of migraine on quality of life.
The unmet needs of patients with migraine
To highlight unmet needs in the management of migraine, Ms Craven presented a series of anonymous quotes collected by email from individual patients with migraine, emphasizing their experience of living with the disease. She characterized how migraine can result in emotions of despair, anguish, hopelessness and isolation.
Despair: “I’m not okay, I lost it all, sports, husband, friends, job, independence and will to live…”
Anguish: “I’m nobody now, not a little bit of the person I used to be and I hate this… so much now, I hate myself and I can’t even look at this pale face with black bags and drooped eyes in the mirror.”
Hopelessness: “I lost my dream job due to my migraine, no other to blame, same happened with athletics.”
Isolation: “I used to win medals and now I’m a “something” who can barely walk… someone who has to wait for her boyfriend to have a shower.”
Hope for patients with difficult-to-treat migraine
To conclude her talk, Ms Craven described her hope that the feelings of despair, anguish, hopelessness and isolation experienced by patients will be improved as the standard of care for migraine improves. Specifically, she believes that despite the many challenges faced by patients with difficult-to-treat migraine, there is still hope for such patients and those who experience comorbidities.
Dodick DW, et al. Assessing barriers to chronic migraine consultation, diagnosis, and treatment: results from the chronic migraine epidemiology and outcomes (CaMEO) study. Headache 2016;56(5):821–834.
Martelletti P, et al. My Migraine Voice survey: a global study of disease burden among individuals with migraine for whom preventive treatments have failed. J Headache Pain</i> 2018;19:15.