MIGRINE MEDICINE, a term coined in the 1970s to describe a variety of conditions, has become the most popular medical term in Australia, with more than 50 million people using the word to describe their experiences with the condition.
Key points:Migraine drugs are widely available but not as widely used as they should be, the health ministry saysThis has created a gap in access for sufferersMigraine drugs are commonly available but are not as universally used as doctors have recommendedThey have also led to the rise of new and more powerful migraine drugs that are not available in the U.S. and Europe but can be bought from overseas.
What’s behind the rise?
The health ministry’s National Migraine Advisory Council, which has been working for more than a decade to develop national guidelines on migraine drugs, says the surge in use of the term was partly down to the lack of available information about the condition, and partly due to the use of alternative medical terminology.
But it says the word itself has had a positive impact.
“People have been looking for something to describe the condition and there’s been a bit of a catch-up process,” said Dr Paul Riede, who is the chair of the council.
“The word has been able to help people understand the condition in a way that’s easier for them to understand.”
The council’s recommendations, which are based on evidence and data, include:More than 50% of people in Australia have experienced migraines and a growing number are now using migraine medications.
But there are no comprehensive data on the effectiveness of migraine drugs in terms of reducing symptoms, treating symptoms and reducing the risk of relapse.
Dr Riedes said the council wanted to explore this topic further to understand the impact of drugs on people’s lives.
“There’s a lot of data on these drugs, but we want to look at how they affect people’s wellbeing and how they impact on their health,” he said.
“So we’ll look at the effectiveness in terms to reducing symptoms and to managing symptoms and how to prevent relapse.”
Dr Ries said it was important to look beyond the current use of migraine medications and to develop a national strategy to reduce the number of people with migraine in Australia.
“That’s where the work really comes into play,” he told RN Breakfast.
“It’s really important for us to start thinking about how we can help the people who have migrainitis and we also need to look into the use and misuse of the other medications.”
If we’re not getting the best information we need to develop the right information and to make sure we have the right policies and we need all of the tools that are available to us.
“Dr Paul Ries is the Chair of the National Migrainae Advisory Council.