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The cycle of migraine: patients' quality of life during and between migraine attacks. Clin Ther 2007 May;29(5):939-949 PMID: 17697913

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BACKGROUND: Despite advances in therapy, the prevalence of migraine has remained constant over the past 17 years. The current diagnostic procedure for migraine does not take into account the entire cycle of migraine, which includes both the pain of the acute attack and the worry between attacks.

OBJECTIVES: This review discusses the effects of migraine on health-related quality of life. The focus is on the impact of migraine between attacks and more successful clinical management of the complete cycle of migraine in both the neurology and primary care settings.

METHODS: A search of MEDLINE (January 1997-January 2007) was conducted to determine the impact of migraine on quality of life and the need for and use of migraine preventive treatment. The search terms were migraine prevention, migraine prophylaxis, bead-ache and quality of life, migraine disability, and head-ache disability. The inclusion of specific studies was based on subjective, comparative evaluation and standard levels of evidence. Older publications were included to provide a historical perspective.

RESULTS: Worry in expectation of the next migraine attack can have negative effects on the family and social lives and work productivity of patients with migraine. The benefits of preventive pharmacotherapy for migraine may be measured over time in terms of changes in the frequency of acute attacks, impact of acute treatment on headache recurrence within the next 24 hours, and reduction in overall functional impairment. Optimizing the acute treatment outcome and reducing the frequency of episodes may help alleviate the cycle of migraine. The clinical assessment of migraine should include multiple dimensions. Several questionnaires, such as the Migraine Disability Assessment and the 6-item Headache Impact Test, have been developed to help clinicians assess the dimensions of migraine. These questionnaires should be used in conjunction with open communication techniques that elicit any underlying worry associated with migraines. Preventive therapies that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration include the neurostabilizers divalproex sodium and topiramate, and the beta-blockers timolol and propranolol. Despite not being approved for this indication, the antidepressant amitriptyline has shown levels of evidence of efficacy in preventing migraine in controlled trials similar to those for the approved medications.

CONCLUSION: The assessment of whether patients with migraine may benefit from preventive therapy should include the use of open communication techniques to uncover possible impairment between attacks.

Author List

Freitag FG


Frederick G. Freitag DO Associate Professor in the Neurology department at Medical College of Wisconsin


2-s2.0-34547673154   50 Citations

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Cost of Illness
Migraine Disorders
Physician-Patient Relations
Quality of Life
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