Migraine Drug Therapies Examined for Appropriateness

HealthDay News — Too many patients with migraines are prescribed opioids, while too few may be getting recommended medications, according to research published recently in Cephalalgia.

Larry Charleston IV, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and his team focused on U.S. adults who visited the doctor for migraine treatment between 2006 and 2013. They were representative of 50 million office visits nationwide, the researchers said. 

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The study team found that of 2,860 Americans who visited the doctor for migraine relief, 15.2% were prescribed opioids. About half had seen their primary care doctor, while between one-fifth and one-quarter visited a neurologist. White, black, and Hispanic patients were prescribed similar rates of opioids for migraines. Meanwhile, 38.9% of patients were not prescribed any abortive medication. A similar percentage (40.9%) received no preventive medications.

“Migraine may be undertreated with prophylactic medications. Level A acute analgesics may be underused and opiates overused,” the authors write. “No major racial/ethnic differences in abortive or prophylactic treatment were identified.”

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