Despite recent advances in understanding the pathophysiology and treatment of migraine, considerable uncertainty remains surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder. This uncertainty is reflected in studies that show both underdiagnosis and undertreatment of migraine. While the diagnosis can be assisted by criteria from the International Headache Society, other approaches may be useful in clinical practice. Treatment of migraine must be based on an individualized patient strategy that integrates education, patient participation, and effective use of pharmacological interventions. Many patients, despite self-treatment with simple analgesics, continue to suffer considerable disability associated with their migraines. Triptans, which are more effective at relieving migraine symptoms and maintaining patient function than are non-specific therapies, are used in only a minority of patients with migraine. Treatment goals of rapid, complete relief with no recurrence and minimal adverse effects can be achieved when effective therapy is matched to individual patient goals. For prophylaxis, anticonvulsant drugs emerging as effective options are being added to the armamentarium with traditional compounds such as tricyclic antidepressants and β-blockers.
- IHS = International Headache Society
- NSAID = Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
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