Migraines are not just simple headaches, with pain and symptoms that go away.

They affect patients’ daily routines and can change their lifestyles completely. Migraine symptoms can be debilitating and last for up to about 72 hours.
            
Migraines are a common condition, affecting about 38 million people in the United States and about 10% of people worldwide.1 Some of the brain changes may begin happening as early as 24 hours before symptoms appear. Many patients complain about phonophobia (sound sensitivity), photophobia (light sensitivity), and severe throbbing headaches, usually on 1 side of the head only. Some patients also experience nausea and vomiting. Some of these symptoms may even continue after the headaches are over.

There are a variety of migraine subtypes, with symptoms that sometimes include as auras, dizziness, difficulty speaking, numbness, and weakness. These symptoms can be a tremendous disability, affecting qualify of life and leading to general non-productivity and missed work days.

The results of a 2015 study showed that 9.7% of men and 20% of women had experienced a severe headache or migraine in the previous 3 months.2 Migraine can have many types, such as chronic, hemiplegic, retinal with aura, without aura, and without head pain.

Migraines can increase in sensitivity after each successive attack, leading to a chronic or even daily condition. Causes of migraines can include changing sleep patterns, environmental factors, genetics, hormonal or menstrual changes, and imbalances in brain chemicals, such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and serotonin. Triggers for migraines include alcohol, bright light, food, medications, physical factors, sensory stimuli, stress, sun glare, and weather changes.3

When treating migraines, the main goal is to prevent future attacks and stop symptoms. Treatment options fall into 2 main categories of pain-relieving medications (abortive treatment) and preventive medications. Responsive prevention and treatment of migraines is incredibly important. It is sometimes possible for people to use an “abortive” medication, which, when taken early, can arrest the migraine process. For many patients, a preventive medication can also decrease both the frequency and severity of future attacks.    
Saro Arakelians, PharmD, is the general manager and pharmacist in charge at BioScrip Infusion in Burbank, California.      
 
A version of this article was originally published by Contemporary Clinic. Read the full article at ContemporaryClinic.com.

REFERENCES
  1. National Institutes of Health. Migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Migraine-Information-Page Updated December 21, 2019. Accessed May 22, 2020.
  2. CDC. QuickStats: Percentage of adults aged ≥18 years who reported having a severe headache or migraine in the past 3 months, by sex and age group — National Health interview survey,§ United States, 2015. cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6624a8.htm Published June 23, 2017. Accessed May 22, 2020.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Migraine. mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201 Accessed May 22, 2020.
  4. Reyvow. Reyvow website. reyvow.com/what-is-reyvow?utm_id=go_cmp-8701504038_adg-87247363643_ad-409814721966_kwd-854159490935_dev-c_ext-&utm_source=google&gclid=Cj0KCQjwnv71BRCOARIsAIkxW9FP843iifTlXACfe_YnRspxhozUV_AHGznXUDz8hFNtDIN8alfEjEsaAlhMEALw_wcB Accessed May 22, 2020.
  5. Emgality. Emgality website. emgality.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&campaign=1697668018&adgroup=69082037227&ad=372703951885&utm_keyword=kwd-521998200641&utm_id=go_cmp-1697668018_adg-69082037227_ad-372703951885_kwd-521998200641_dev-c_ext-_prd-&gclid=Cj0KCQjwnv71BRCOARIsAIkxW9GZ2tceVCphEy-8ktOYbwyp8HeAfRPEP2uu4iH6jWxCCrgmEKPoI_IaAlnVEALw_wcB Accessed May 22, 2020.
  6. Ajovy. Ajovy website. ajovy.com/whyajovy?gclid=Cj0KCQjwnv71BRCOARIsAIkxW9GWZs3CeRpKMZF6NNdVyvc9cLI4aqrX3poiZWpz5dHbUJshFcttQX0aAmHDEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds Accessed May 22, 2020.