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National Headache Awareness Week 2010

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Optimal health care can be achieved
only when patients are educated
about their health and patients and
physicians work together as
treatment partners in an
atmosphere of mutual respect.



June 6 - 12 has been designated as National Headache Awareness week for 2010. National Headache Awareness Week (NHAW) was started by the National Headache Foundation (NHF), and they continue to organize and sponsor the observation each year.

Don't let the name fool you. Migraine is definitely included in this observation and the work of the NHF. It can be a bit confusing, but this area of medicine has long been called "headache medicine," and there are times when Migraine is included in the term "headache."

This year, NHAW recognizes the 40th anniversary of the NHF. You can learn more about the NHF and this year's NHAW events HERE.

One of the most recent projects of the NHF is a survey, the findings of which are being released just in time for NHAW...

-Experts Urge a Personalized Approach to Managing Complex Disease-

For many of our country's nearly 37 million Migraine sufferers whose lives are all too often turned upside down by their Migraines, relief can’t come soon enough. In a new survey released today by the National Headache Foundation (NHF), three out of four Migraineurs said their current medication doesn’t work fast enough to get them back to their life when a Migraine strikes suddenly or upon waking. These findings are being released as part of National Headache Awareness Week, June 6-12, and the NHF’s 40th anniversary. The survey was supported by Zogenix, Inc. and Astellas Pharma US, Inc.

Robert Dalton, executive director of the NHF stated:

“Migraine knowledge and treatments have advanced exponentially over the last 40 years, but these new study findings are a reminder that we have only begun to scratch the surface of this complex, biological disease. More education, along with awareness and adoption of the newest treatment options, is critical for Migraine sufferers who are not experiencing fast relief from their current medications.”

Headache-related activities such as screenings and public education forums are being hosted around the country during National Headache Awareness Week to bring attention to the nationwide problem of headache and to encourage sufferers to recognize their headache patterns and seek help.

Key Survey Findings

In the national survey, 500 Migraine sufferers were asked about their Migraine attacks, treatment satisfaction and experiences, and desired prescription medication attributes:

  • The majority of sufferers (54%) said their prescription oral Migraine medication is not useful for every Migraine attack, yet less than 20% use another prescribed medication when an oral tablet is not an option.

  • Nearly one out of four who don’t use another prescription medication simply endure their Migraines.

Roger Cady, M.D., vice president of the NHF board of directors, and director of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Missouri, commented:

“It is critical that both physicians and patients communicate about the nature and impact of the Migraines so they can choose the best treatment plan for them. Every Migraine is not the same, so a single treatment approach may not work. Fast-acting, non-oral treatment options are needed particularly for those who experience Migraine attacks associated with sudden onset, waking, nausea or vomiting.”

Additional key findings from the survey show that:

  • Sufferers Aren’t Satisfied and Highlight the Need for Speed in Migraine Relief

    • A majority of sufferers (51%) are dissatisfied overall with their current medication

    • The most desired prescription medication attribute offered “the fastest relief possible regardless of form” (41%), followed by an “ability to use the medication and return to normal activities” (38%)

  • One Treatment Doesn’t Fit All Migraine Attacks

    • Rapid onset Migraine was the most common type of attack, affecting 69% of respondents

    • 66% also experience Migraines with nausea and/or vomiting

  • Patient-Physician Dialogue Isn’t Translating to Better Treatment

    • Most sufferers (roughly 2/3) have told their doctor that their prescription oral treatment doesn’t work for all of their Migraine attacks, yet only one of four say their doctor has told them they need more than one drug to manage their variable attacks.

    • Sandie Griffin, 55, of Ozark, Missouri, said, “I have a stressful job, aging parents to check on, and nine grandchildren whom I love dearly. I am always on the go and don't have time for a Migraine.” Fortunately, my doctor recently prescribed a new medication that quickly relieves my pain, and after years of literally losing days at a time to one headache, I have finally been liberated.”

The Enormous Toll of Migraine
The direct and indirect costs associated with Migraine are staggering: it is estimated that industry loses $31 billion per year due to absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses caused by Migraine. Furthermore an estimated 157 million workdays are lost annually because of the pain and associated symptoms of Migraine. The personal toll of Migraine also is significant: in a recent study, nine out of 10 Migraineurs reported they can’t “function normally” during days in which a Migraine strikes, and nearly three in 10 required bed rest.

Helping People with Headache Disorders for 40 Years
June 2010 marks the National Headache Foundation’s 40th anniversary. Over the past four decades, the NHF has revolutionized the approach to understanding and treating headache disorders. By advancing Migraine education, funding research, and fueling new treatment development, the NHF has led the way in this complex area of medicine. Today, there is a better understanding of the causes behind headache disorders, more comprehensive education for Migraine sufferers, and a variety of powerful treatments to tackle this biological disease.

With dozens of public education campaigns, a comprehensive support group network, online learning modules and toolkits, and a toll-free hotline, the NHF has assisted millions of Migraineurs seek education and treatment for their condition. The NHF has also played a central role promoting the education and research of Migraine with physicians, allied healthcare professionals and health care policy decision makers.

In closing

Mr. Dalton commented,

“As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, the National Headache Foundation remains steadfast in our commitment to improving the lives of people with Migraine by promoting the advancement of headache education and treatment.”

Congratulations and thanks to the National Headache Foundation for their work on behalf of headache and Migraine patients over the last 40 years!


Press release. "New Survey Reveals Critical Demand for Fast Migraine Relief." National Headache Foundation. Chicago. June 7, 2010.

Medical review by John Claude Krusz, PhD, MD

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© Teri Robert, 2010. Last updated June 7, 2010

NOTE: The information on this site is for education and support only. It is not medical advice and should not be construed as such. Always consult your physician if you have new or different symptoms. Never change your treatment regimen or add herbals, supplements, etc., without consulting your doctor.


 The American Headache and Migraine Association (AHMA)...

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other headache disorders and their family, friends, and care partners.
Anyone interested in the concerns or patients with these disorders is welcome to join.

The AHMA exists to EASE the burden of Migraine and other headache disorders through Education, Awareness, Support, and Engagement.


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NOTE: The information on this site is for education and support only. It is not medical advice and should not be construed as such. Always consult your physician if you have new or different symptoms. Never change your treatment regimen or add herbals, supplements, etc., without consulting your doctor.

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