A new survey from Health Union, Migraine In America 2019, finds that people with chronic migraine who currently use a treatment to target calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRP) are more likely than those who have not used these treatments to have positive relationships with their healthcare professionals (HCPs), However, those using CGRP-related treatments are also more likely to have a negative quality of life. The survey illuminates the perspectives and experiences of people affected by migraine.
The survey findings show there is a relationship between symptoms experienced and CGRP-inhibitor use. People with chronic migraine who responded they were using a CGRP-inhibitor were more likely to say their migraine attacks have increased over time. They were also more likely to currently experience a wider array of symptoms during migraine attacks, including head pain, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, aphasia, memory loss, and sensitivity to touch. People with chronic migraine who responded they are not using or have never used a CGRP-inhibitor also had wide variation in a number of factors, including relationships with HCPs and quality of life.
Peoplw with chronic migraine who said they are using a CGRP-inhibitor were more likely to rate their relationships with HCPs positively on factors including satisfaction with the care received, feeling their HCP adequately explains test results and treatment options, comfort with discussing all aspects of their migraine with their HCP, and feeling their HCP regularly discusses their quality of life. More than one-third of the 4,716 respondents with chronic migraine said they use a preventive CGRP, and more than half said they have never used one; another 13% had previously used a preventive CGRP but were not currently doing so.
The type of HCP that people visit could potentially contribute to the quality of HCP relationships. Specifically, people with chronic migraine using a CGRP-inhibitor are more likely than those who have never done so to most often see headache specialists or neurologists. Those who have never used a CGRP-inhibitor are more likely to most often see primary care physicians or chiropractors, as well as not regularly to see any HCP.
Possibly linked to the volume of symptoms experienced, people with chronic migraine using CGRP-inhibitors also had negative views of their quality of life. They were more likely to say they feel migraine controls their life, have had to cut back on participating in hobbies and activities they enjoy, and feel embarrassed about having migraine.
"When it comes to conversations around treatment, efficacy, and side effects typically get prioritized over other factors, like emotional well-being and HCP relationships," said Tim Armand, cofounder and president of Health Union. "Online health communities give people a safe, supportive environment where they can connect with others like them and learn important information about treatment options and experience."
Danielle S. Takacs, MD, and Eli M. Mizrahi, MD
Lila T. Worden, MD, and Shavonne L. Massey, MD, MSCE
Carinna M. Scotti-Degnan, PhD, and Hannah A. Ford, PhD