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Acute treatment of migraine. Breaking the paradigm of monotherapy

Author(s): Krymchantowski Abouch

Journal: BMC Neurology
ISSN 1471-2377

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: migraine | acute treatment | polytherapy | changing approach

Abstract Background Migraine is a highly prevalent disorder. The disability provoked by its attacks results in suffering as well as considerable economic and social losses. The objective of migraine acute treatment is to restore the patient to normal function as quickly and consistently as possible. There are numerous drugs available for this purpose and despite recent advances in the understanding of the mechanisms and different biological systems involved in migraine attacks, with the development of specific 5-HT agonists known as triptans, current options for acute migraine still stand below the ideal. Discussion Monotherapeutic approaches are the rule but up to one third of all patients discontinue their medications due to lack of efficacy, headache recurrence, cost and/or side effects. In addition, a rationale has been suggested for the development of polytherapeutic approaches, simultaneously aiming at some of the biological systems involved. This paper reviews the fundamentals for this changing approach as well as the evidence of its better efficacy. Conclusion As a conclusion, most of the patients with a past history of not responding (no pain-free at 2 hours and/or no sustained pain-free at 24 hours) in at least 5 previous attacks should undergo a combination therapy suiting to their individual profile, which must include analgesics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents plus a triptan or a gastro kinetic drug. The three-drug regimen may also be considered. In addition, changing the right moment to take it and the choice for formulations other than oral has also to be determined individually and clearly posted to the patient.

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