-June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month-
Nearly 40 million Americans have migraine and it is one of the ten most disabling medical illnesses, according to the World Health Organization. However, because it is an “invisible” disease, it’s often overlooked and misunderstood.
For National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, and to help the millions who have migraine, Merle L. Diamond, MD, headache neurologist and president, managing director, Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, has advice to share.
What is migraine?
Migraine is more than just a headache; it is a disabling neurological disease with different symptoms and different treatment approaches compared to other headache disorders. People with migraine can experience severe head pain, sometimes throbbing, pounding or pulsating, several times a month, lasting from four hours to several days. Additional symptoms of migraine may also include sensitivity to light and sound and/or feeling nauseous.
Worse still, many of my patients tell me they frequently can’t continue with their day because of their migraine, and in the past before current pandemic times, they had often missed important events like weddings, parties and school graduations. They also lose out on employment opportunities. It’s a very disabling disease.
What causes migraine?
The exact cause isn’t really clear, but genetics and environment do play a role. In fact, migraine often runs in families. There are certain “triggers” that can cause migraine, which affect people differently. Some triggers include stress, certain foods, dehydration, too much or too little sleep, changes in weather, seasonal allergies, hormonal changes in women, and head injury.
What can you tell us about treatment?
Because migraine affects people differently, I work with each individual to come up with a plan. One approach I use with my patients for when a migraine strikes is I prescribe an acute treatment for migraine in adults called Nurtec® ODT (rimegepant). For most people, Nurtec ODT works within an hour and lasts up to 48 hours. It melts under the tongue, eliminating the need for water and making it a convenient option for many patients. A small number of patients, about 2 percent, may experience some nausea.
What do you recommend for people who suspect migraine?
I recommend that if people are experiencing multiple days of painful headaches, along with the other symptoms mentioned above, to see their doctors. If a physician’s response doesn’t properly address concerns, then people should seek a second opinion. There are many ways to manage migraine pain. And an expert in migraine and headache medicine is a good place to start.
Nurtec® ODT 75 mg is a prescription medicine for the acute treatment of migraine in adults. Nurtec ODT is not indicated for the preventive treatment of migraine. Do not take if you are allergic to Nurtec ODT or any of its ingredients. The most common side effect was nausea in 2 percent of patients. Please visit Nurtec.com for full Prescribing Information and Patient Information.