Headache services for migraine sufferers are ‘depressingly poor’


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Global Medical News
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New data shows “depressingly poor” management of headache disorder in European countries.

The Eurolight initiative gathered data on headache disorders using surveys in 10 countries in the European Union (EU) - Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and the UK. The sample included 3,466 adults with migraine, of whom 1,175 reported frequent migraine (>5 days/month).

In population-based samples, only 9.5-18.0 per cent of participants with migraine had seen a GP and just 3.1-15.0 per cent had consulted a specialist. Between 3.4 and 11 per cent were receiving triptans, with Spain outlying at 22.4 per cent. Across the sample, 1.6-6.4 per cent were receiving preventative medication, with Spain again outlying at 13.7 per cent. Proportions of patients receiving triptans and preventative medicines were higher in GP-based samples (13.6-24.5% and 4.4-9.1%, respectively).

Participants with migraine who had consulted specialists (3.1-33.8%) were receiving the best care by these indicators; those treated by GPs (9.5-29.6%) fared less well, and those self-medicating (48.0-84.2%) were inadequately treated, the figures suggest.

Writing in The Journal of Headache and Pain, the authors say: "The picture is therefore not encouraging: as reflections of reach and adequacy of headache services for headache, these findings indicate depressingly poor performance in the EU."