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Migraine Management Remains Elusive

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According to Richard Lipton, MD, "The best available treatment isn't perfect. But it makes a difference between feeling you've got a problem that completely makes your life out of control, to feeling like you have a burden but have the tools to manage it." Lipton is professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Lipton says that current preventive drugs can decrease headache frequency by half. But fewer than a million take these medications, he notes. With medications, Lipton says, "For between 50% to 80% of attacks, people go from moderate or severe pain to having mild pain or no pain within a couple of hours."

Silberstein recommends that women with migraines who are taking birth control pills take their pills constantly for three to four months. That will keep their estrogen levels high, since low levels of the hormone may trigger attacks.

The American Academy of Neurology and other medical groups have developed new drug treatment guidelines that are available online at

Fischbach says that many doctors may not focus enough on migraines. He notes, "Patients have to get the attention of busy doctors to sit down and listen." This article and all articles on WebMD have been medically reviewed.


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