The American Headache Society Announces New Treatment Guidelines

SHAFAQNA – New guidelines are being set for assessing medications aimed at treating acute migraine onsets. This is to help ensure that patients get the proper care with the least amount of risk. Obviously, this involves the updating of the classification of pain medications used to treat migraine headaches such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), butorphanol nasal spray, triptans, and others.

“We hope that this assessment of the efficacy of currently available migraine therapies helps patients and their physicians utilize treatments that are the most appropriate for them,” explains study co-author Dr. Stephen Silberstein, MD. The Jefferson Headache Center of Thomas Jefferson University professor of neurology and director continues, “Several large, randomized acute pharmacological migraine treatment trials have been conducted since the release of the 2000 AAN/AHS guidelines, so it was important that we update our guidelines to reflect the latest evidence.”

Leading headache specialist Dr. Michael J. Marmura, who is also of the Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University, adds, “This report focusing on acute migraine treatment reflects the changing nature of guidelines toward evidence-based treatment rather than expert opinion. Large double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are the basis of determining the effectiveness of acute migraine treatment. Some clinical trials for headache performed prior to publication of the previous guidelines do not meet the more rigorous standards for clinical trials today.”

Furthermore, Dr. Marmura continues, “This review focuses on the treatment of acute migraine attacks, rather than long-term outcomes. Clinicians still need to individualize treatment and consider the clinical context of the migraine attack. An outpatient with well-controlled episodic migraine may respond differently than someone with chronic migraine or a patient in the emergency room. This assessment does not provide guidance for long-term migraine management including issues such as adverse events and medication-overuse headache.”

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