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Acute migraines more apt to turn chronic with poor treatment

Updated: June 28, 2013 10:02 AM
© iStockphoto.com / Shaun Lowe © iStockphoto.com / Shaun Lowe
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FRIDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- People who receive inadequate treatment for acute migraine headaches are more likely to develop chronic migraines, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at data from more than 4,600 people with episodic migraines (14 or fewer migraine days per month) and found that 48 percent of them received poor or very poor treatment.

These patients were more likely to progress to having chronic migraines (15 or more migraine days a month) than those who received better treatment, according to the study, which was presented this week at the International Headache Congress meeting in Boston.

Within a year, about 8 percent of patients who received very poor treatment progressed to chronic migraine, compared with 4.4 percent of those who received poor treatment, 2.9 percent of those who received moderate treatment and 2.5 percent of those who received the best treatment.

Migraines are debilitating headaches involving intense pulsing or throbbing pain, and often nausea, vomiting and hypersensitivity to light and sound.

The study was conducted by a team from the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City, and Vedanta Research, in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"These findings are exciting as they provide clinical targets for intervention. When we discover factors that increase the risk of progression, health care providers can focus their efforts in those areas to improve care and outcomes," study co-author Dawn Buse said in an International Headache Congress news release.

"In this case, we have found several factors in acute migraine treatment which may likely improve outcomes, including using medications that work quickly and maintain pain-free results, which allows and empowers people who live with migraines the freedom and confidence to make plans and fully engage in their lives," Buse said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about migraines.

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