Understanding the side effects and potential interactions with other medications can prove confusing for physicians trying to prescribe help for patients who have migraines.
With that in mind, a research team that included Sandhya Mehla, MD, a specialist with the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center, chose to address the safety in migraine management for an article that appeared in the journal Current Pain and Headache Reports. The piece, she said, is aimed at subspecialists and primary care providers.
“Some medications can cause interactions with other medications. The biggest interactions are in the form of cardiovascular or gastrointestinal side effects, so providers need to know when to avoid certain treatments and how to monitor their patients for interactions,” Dr. Mehla said.
This isn’t the first effort to inform, but there have been so many new treatments and medications introduced to help those who have migraine that updated guidance was needed, she continued.
“This is something that can serve as a reference article that can be consulted every time a provider goes to prescribe a medication they’re not sure about,” Dr. Mehla said, noting that the paper addresses treatments by medication classes for ease of use and addresses side effects and potential interactions with other common medications.
“No patient is the same – their age, medication history, headache profiles are all different. You can’t use standard applications,” she said.
While headache specialists have advanced training in the condition, their numbers are limited nationally and the wait to get an appointment can be six months or more, meaning more primary care providers are prescribing medication.
“The expectation is that patients with limited headache days can be treated by their primary care physicians. The important thing is to get treated early when it isn’t as complicated and hasn’t transformed into a more chronic situation,” Dr. Mehla said.