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Neurological Disorders

A New Era in Migraine Care

Kevin Lenaburg

Executive Director, Coalition For Headache And Migraine Patients (CHAMP)

Imagine living with a kind of pain that is invisible to everyone around you. Instead of scrapes and bruises, you experience debilitating head pain, nausea, exhaustion, mental fog, and extreme sensitivity to lights and sounds.

This is what it is like for the 40 million women, men, and children in the United States who live with migraine disease.

Maybe this describes you. Maybe it’s someone you know. If you are living with the pain of migraine — or you know someone who is — now is the time to do something about it. 

Migraine is not just a headache. The World Health Organization has named migraine disease the No. 2 cause of disability worldwide. Thankfully, science has made tremendous advances in understanding migraine. 

More new medicines and devices to treat migraine have come out in the past three years than were developed in the decades before. There is still no cure but there are ways to find relief for those living with migraine. 

New Treatments 

  • Acute medicines help when people feel the beginning of a migraine attack coming on. Gepants and ditans are new classes of medicines that help people who can’t use or aren’t helped by the older class of acute migraine medicines called triptans. 
  • Preventive medicines can dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. New medicines bind to a neurological peptide called CGRP or to the receptor, thus blocking the connection and stopping the migraine cascade that leads to pain and other symptoms. 
  • Neurostimulation devices interfere with pain signals to prevent or stop migraine attacks. The various devices stimulate different nerve systems. They have none or very few side effects and can safely be used in combination with medicines.

This is a new era for migraine care. If you or someone you know has migraines, don’t keep treating it the same ineffective way. You deserve to live a better life and the innovations in migraine treatment can help you thrive. 

What To Do

  1. Determine if you or someone you know has migraines 
    • You likely have migraine disease if you experience recurring moderate to severe headaches, combined with nausea and/or sensitivity to lights or sounds
  2. Talk to a healthcare provider
    • Tell them about the frequency and severity of your headaches and other symptoms
    • Tell them how the pain and disabling effect is impacting your life
    • Ask what migraine treatment would be best for you
  3. Educate yourself and find support
    • Visit CHAMP at HeadacheMigraine.org to get tips from 21 headache patient advocacy member organizations and learn about their support programs.
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