The American Migraine Foundation Launches Initiative to Mobilize the 36 Million Americans Living with Migraine, A Disabling Neurological Disease

Move Against Migraine illustrates the hidden truth about migraine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: [MOUNT ROYAL, NJ, March 20, 2017] – The American Migraine Foundation (AMF) announced today that it is launching an initiative – Move Against Migraine – to empower the more than 36 million Americans living with migraine to advocate for themselves to find the support and treatment they need. Given the lack of awareness of the varied symptoms that can occur during migraine attacks and the long-standing stigma associated with this disease, less than 5% of those with the most debilitating form of migraine have sought help, received a diagnosis, and been treated.[1]

Read More at American Migraine Foundation. 

Why Impact & Cost of Chronic Migraine Comorbidities Justify “Whole-Person” Care

Chronic migraine is seldom a lone condition, explains a new white paper from the Headache & Migraine Policy Forum.  And when chronic migraine patients suffer from common comorbidities such as depression or hypertension, their medical costs rise while their productivity suffers.

Authored by former Department of Health and Human Services official Kenneth E. Thorpe, Ph.D., the paper is entitled “Prevalence, Health Care Spending and Comorbidities Associated with Chronic Migraine Patients.” It captures analysis of 2008-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, which are conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Key findings include:

Prevalence. Chronic migraine sufferers are predominantly urban, white and female – working full time and living in the South.

Comorbidities. Nearly 90 percent of chronic migraine patients have at least one other chronic condition. The most common include depression and anxiety; hypertension; and arthritis.

Cost. The cost of treating patients with chronic migraine and additional chronic diseases is eight times higher than the cost of treating patients with only chronic migraine. Likewise, the cost of treating conditions such as arthritis, depression, anxiety and diabetes is higher if the patient being treated also suffers from chronic migraine.

Productivity. More than 20 percent of chronic migraine sufferers are disabled.  That figure rises as the number of comorbid conditions increases.

The paper argues that these findings justify “whole-person care,” a point that Dr. Thorpe reiterated at Tuesday’s Capitol Hill policy forum sponsored by the Headache & Migraine Policy Forum. “If you’re really treating these conditions simultaneously and interactively,” Dr. Thorpe explained, “you’re going to get better outcomes across the board.”  The approach could yield “substantial health dividends,” the paper notes.

The Headache & Migraine Policy Forum advances public policies that promote accelerated innovation and improved treatments for headache and migraine sufferers.

The event coincided with the 10th annual Headache on the Hill, an advocacy effort organized by the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. Headache on the Hill brings more than 125 health professionals, migraine advocates and patients to Capitol Hill to raise awareness about the impact of headache and migraine disorders and to seek increased research funding.

Read the full paper here or review key findings in the Headache & Migraine Policy Forum’s new infographic.

Prevalence, Health Care Spending and Comorbidities Associated with Chronic Migraine Patients

The paper extends the current body of research in several directions:

• First, we provide more recent prevalence estimates of chronic migraine.

• Second, we examine the medical treatment costs by source of care and the prevalence of the use of different sources of care.

• Third, we examine the prevalence of comorbid conditions and their financial treatment and workplace productivity implications.

• Finally, we examine the impact that chronic migraine has on the treatment costs of patients with both chronic migraine and other comorbid conditions.

Read the full paper here. 

The Heroism of Incremental Care

We devote vast resources to intensive, one-off procedures, while starving the kind of steady, intimate care that often helps people more.

By 2010, Bill Haynes had spent almost four decades under attack from the inside of his skull. He was fifty-seven years old, and he suffered from severe migraines that felt as if a drill were working behind his eyes, across his forehead, and down the back of his head and neck. They left him nauseated, causing him to vomit every half hour for up to eighteen hours. He’d spend a day and a half in bed, and then another day stumbling through sentences. The pain would gradually subside, but often not entirely. And after a few days a new attack would begin....

He saw all kinds of doctors—primary-care physicians, neurologists, psychiatrists—who told him what he already knew: he had chronic migraine headaches. And what little the doctors had to offer didn’t do him much good. Headaches rank among the most common reasons for doctor visits worldwide. A small number are due to secondary causes, such as a brain tumor, cerebral aneurysm, head injury, or infection. Most are tension headaches—diffuse, muscle-related head pain with a tightening, non-pulsating quality—that generally respond to analgesics, sleep, neck exercises, and time. Migraines afflict about ten per cent of people with headaches, but a much larger percentage of those who see doctors, because migraines are difficult to control.

Read more at the New Yorker


White Paper Defines Balanced Pain Management as Better Way on Pain, Opioids

Balanced pain management offers an opportunity to better manage pain, control rising costs and reduce the potential for opioid abuse, explains a new white paper from the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management.   But realizing the benefits of a balanced approach requires policymakers and insurers to first expand access to more personalized, comprehensive treatments.

More at Institute for Patient Access

Congress Urged to Prioritize Headache Research, Treatments

During today’s annual Headache on the Hill event, patients, physicians and advocates from the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy will once again brief members of Congress on the impact of headache – and how better funding, more research and improved access to treatments could mitigate the conditions’ impact on patients.

Headache disorders affect an estimated 90 percent of Americans, while migraine plagues 36 million Americans each year. Cluster headaches, characterized by their severe pain, are now as prevalent as multiple sclerosis.

More at Institute for Patient Access

Headache Patients Face Limited Options, Despite Prevalence and Pain

Far more than an occasional nuisance, headaches interfere with countless Americans’ daily lives – and cost the country $31 billion annually.  Yet the National Institutes of Health funding for headache disorders research pales in comparison to funding for less widespread conditions.  This apparent discrepancy was central among the concerns expressed by the physician and patient advocates convening today for Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy’s seventh annual Headache on the Hill in Washington, DC.

More at Institute for Patient Access