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Migraine: a review and future directions for treatment

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Linde M. Migraine: a review and future directions for treatment.

Acta Neurol Scand 2006: 114: 71–83. © 2006 The Author Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Munksgaard.

Migraine is a chronic, neurological disorder generally manifesting itself in attacks with severe headache, nausea and an increased reactivity to sensory stimuli. A low migraine threshold is set by genetic factors, although the phenotype also modulates the manifestations. The 1-year prevalence is approximately 13% and is higher among women. Patients usually experience neuropsychological dysfunction, and sometimes also reversible focal neurological symptoms. The trajectories of the characteristic symptoms of acute migraine usually follow a similar time course, indicating a reciprocal underlying mechanism. A central nervous system hyperexcitability has been demonstrated in neurophysiological studies. The dibilitating effects of migraine are not confined to the attacks per se. Many individuals do not recover completely between the attacks and most report a negative impact on the most important life domains, and an interest in testing other treatments. Young persons have a higher frequency of attacks. Acute treatment should routinely be initiated with an analgesic plus a prokinetic anti-emetic. Triptans must not be provided early during the attack to ensure their efficacy. The natural course of attacks is commonly only temporarily altered by acute treatment. Non-pharmacological treatment and drugs may be equally viable in prophylaxis for migraine. In more complicated cases, conjoint therapy should be considered. New strategies to improve adherence with existing therapeutic regimens might yield greater benefits than will new pharmacological agents.

Keywords: compliance; exercise; future; migraine; natural course; non-pharmacological; prophylaxis; treatment; triptans

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2006


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