Migraine is a common, disabling neurological disease characterized by painful, debilitating headache attacks. Migraine is the second leading cause of burden of disability in the world, and affects about 18 percent of adult women, 6 percent of adult men, and 10 percent of school-age children in the United States.
During this webinar, Dawn Buse, PhD, and Jelena Pavlović, MD, PhD, explain the definition and mechanism of migraine disease and migraine attacks, address the large burden that migraine imposes on patients and their loved ones, discuss how migraine is diagnosed, and share examples of how migraine is treated and managed.
Fast Facts from the Webinar
1. Migraine is a chronic disease, not simply just a recurring bad headache.
This disabling neurological disease is characterized by migraine attacks that can last from four to 72 hours. Headache pain is often accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other symptoms. Chronic migraine is defined as 15 or more headache days per month for three or more months with at least eight of the days being migraine attacks. Episodic migraine is characterized as less than 15 headache days per month.
2. Migraine disproportionally affects women.
Three of four people with migraine are women. Women migraine patients are more likely to have longer attacks, more migraine-related symptoms, higher levels of migraine-related disability, and attacks that are more difficult to treat.
3. Comorbidities are extremely common among people living with migraine.
Nine out of 10 people with chronic migraine report at least one comorbid, or co-occurring, condition. Common comorbidities for people living with migraine include conditions pertaining to chronic pain and the cardiovascular, neurologic, endocrine, respiratory, psychiatric, and gastrointestinal systems. The average number of comorbid conditions is higher for women (11 comorbidities) than for men (5 comorbidities).
4. New anti-CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) medications are the first drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designed specifically to prevent migraine attacks.
CGRP is a protein that causes inflammation in the brain,. It is known to be in higher concentrations in people with migraine and can cause an attack if given experimentally. Anti-CGRP treatment has been shown to reduce migraine by two to four days per month for people with episodic migraine and by six to eight days for people with chronic migraine, which is a meaningful reduction.
5. Stigma around migraine can significantly impact the burden and treatment of the disease.
Migraine is often perceived as a feminized and “less legitimate” disease, as women’s pain is often dismissed or normalized. This stigma can create barriers to care, which is exemplified in the fact that less than half of people with migraine consult a health care provider about it.
6. Society for Women’s Health Research has launched a Migraine Patient Toolkit you can visit for more information
This resource includes easy-to-understand information about migraine diagnosis and treatment options, as well as tips on interacting with health care providers and health insurance companies to help migraine patients achieve the best possible outcomes.
The Patient Perspective
Here’s what patient participants said they learned from this webinar:
- “We should continue to raise awareness about migraine and move beyond ‘it’s all your head’ ideals. While there are no definitive tests for diagnosis, speaking to our [health care providers] about symptoms and experiences can help. We need more women participating in research from the study design to implementation!” —Ama K., patient participant
- “Migraine is understood to be a disease. I’ve had them for over 40 years, starting when I was 19. Also, learned that more research is being done and that new treatments are available.” —Carol C., patient participant
*This webinar was brought to you by the support of Amgen. Our sincere thanks to Amgen for their generosity in supporting this webinar.
About the Presenters
Dawn C. Buse, PhD, is a member of the board of directors of the American Headache Society, a clinical professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a licensed psychologist with 20 years of experience working with people with migraine and chronic pain.
Jelena Pavlović, MD, PhD, is a neurologist and headache specialist at the Montefiore Headache Center and assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the American Headache Society (AHS), and the International Headache Society (IHS).
Dr. Buse and Dr. Pavlović are both members of the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) Interdisciplinary Network on Migraine.