Patients With Migraine
Often Go Without Treatment
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People who suffer migraines often go without treatment because they think doctors will not take them seriously, and because they do not know there are drugs that can help them, experts said Monday. They are often right about doctors' attitudes, the American Association for the Study of Headache (AASH) and the International Headache Society (IHS) said in a joint statement after a weekend meeting. ``Patients need to know migraine is not all in their head,'' Dr. Keith Campbell, a past president of the AASH who helped chair the meeting, said in a statement. ``Many physicians fail to recognize migraine as a progressive, complex disease, or to appreciate how debilitating the pain can be,'' he added. ``All too often physicians view patients with migraine as complainers and send them away without adequate treatment, telling them, 'it's only a headache. You have to learn to live with it.''' There are both over-the-counter and prescription drugs approved for migraine, but people still do not know about them, Campbell said. ``We now have effective therapies for migraine but the biggest problem is that people don't go to the doctor even when they have severe, disabling pain, because they think nothing can be done, or they fear that the doctor will not take them seriously,'' he said. Migraine, which affects up to three times as many women as men, can be temporarily debilitating as sufferers feel intense pain, nausea and an inability to tolerate light. Prevalence rates vary by country, with people of European descent the most likely to suffer. Dr. Richard Lipton, president-elect of the AASH, said one study found that 59 percent of women and 71 percent of men never have been diagnosed by a doctor for what they describe as migraine symptoms.