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Expanding the Treatment Toolbox for Migraine Patients

People who experience debilitating migraine disease are calling for access to a wider variety of treatment options.  

In fact, four in five migraine patients said they are looking for a new treatment to help manage their disease. And according to the OVERCOME (US) study, relatively few migraine patients are getting the help they need despite experiencing at least moderate disability. 

Nausea Symptoms May Limit Patient Compatibility with Oral Therapy 

A migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It is often accompanied by stomach upset, with eight out of 10 people experiencing nausea or vomiting. 

Unfortunately, the way migraine impacts the body makes absorption of oral medications slower during an attack as compared to between attacks. Some oral medications may cause nausea and vomiting as a side effect, which can in turn result in the oral medication not being fully absorbed, especially for those patients already experiencing nausea due to the disease. 

Alternative Treatment Options 

A nasal spray is one alternative to oral medications that patients can use when they feel nauseated, offering rapid delivery of medication to reduce pain and inflammation. Home-use oxygen, injectables and neuromodulation devices are other alternatives worth considering. Time can be of the essence, however, as some treatments – including certain oral medications – are most effective when used within an hour of the onset of a migraine attack.  

Additionally, certain acute migraine medications should be avoided in pregnancy. Devices offer a safe alternative for people seeking relief from migraine attacks while pregnant.  

For the sake of increasing the number of migraine patients who can effectively address their symptoms, the medical community and headache advocates ought to embrace all options. Payers, likewise, should adopt policies that support access to the widest possible range of treatments. 

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