Friday, May 18, 2007

you know what they say about assuming...

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A new migraine study commissioned by the National Headache Foundation has been receiving increasing amounts of attention this week. It purports to show migraineurs receive addictive, dangerous drugs too often when they should be using safer, more effective treatment options.

Too Few Get the Best Migraine Drugs
Survey: Potentially Addictive Drugs Too Often Prescribed for Migraines
Surprisingly, the survey shows that one in five migraine sufferers are taking potentially addictive opioid or barbiturate medications when they get headaches. Just more than half of migraine patients take the newer, preferred class of triptan drugs for their headaches.
This study fails to address some important questions.
  • Are these patients able to safely tolerate the so-called safer options?
  • Are these patients using the safer, more effective treatment drugs, but experiencing so many attacks they need other options?
  • Did these patients try the so-called safer options and simply not respond?
It is insulting and irresponsible to make it sound as though migraineurs and their doctors are unable to make the treatment choices that best suit each patient and his or her individual needs. Sometimes we are forced to take medication that does not relieve all of our symptoms because there simply isn't a product available that will do so. Most of us have tried more treatment options than a person could count on both hands in an effort to find something to relieve the debilitating symptoms of migraines. As much as triptan manufacturers would like us to believe otherwise, triptans are not effective for every individual or every attack.

I think increased awareness of all available options and the concerns associated with them is a good and necessary thing. However, I don't think it does anyone any good to reinforce stereotypes about people with misunderstood illnesses.

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