The month of June is a time for remembering that chronic migraine is more than just headaches

MONTREAL, May 31, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - June is migraine awareness month1. It is a great opportunity to remember that this neurological disorder is complex and to distinguish chronic migraine from episodic migraine. Chronic migraine is characterized by 15 headache days or more per month, affects 1,4 to 2,2% of the population, or nearly 370,000 Canadians2, and is the 19th most debilitating disease according to the World Health Organization3. "One of the main issues is that only 20% of patients are well diagnosed and treated, which is why we must do everything we can to raise public awareness," states Dr. Martin Veilleux, a neurologist at the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex in Montreal.

Dr. Veilleux treats more than a hundred patients for chronic migraine and says that it is one of the most misunderstood neurological disorders. Both men and women are affected by chronic migraine. Women, however, are three times more likely to suffer from them. "All too often, the seriousness of the disorder is downplayed. Mild headaches and episodic headaches are very common among the general population and are often confused with chronic migraine, which is therefore not taken seriously enough. Yet chronic migraine can have a significant negative impact on a person's social and family life and seriously affect their productivity at work," adds Dr. Veilleux. Numerous studies show that, for a patient suffering from chronic migraine, the number of days where productivity at work is decreased by more than 50% is three to five times more than that of a patient with episodic migraine4. Hence the importance of making the right diagnosis and of treating patients adequately.

Nearly 18 months ago, Health Canada approved BOTOX® as a therapeutic option to treat patients with chronic migraine in Canada. "BOTOX® is the only drug of its class to reduce so significantly both the pain and the number of migraines, which has a substantial positive impact on patients' quality of life. Each treatment lasts three months and reduces the amount of other drugs required. For these patients, BOTOX® is not just about wrinkles," emphasizes Dr. Veilleux.

The new website, www.mychronicmigraine.ca, provides a range of information about chronic migraine as well as a list of specialists treating this condition in Canada. Before seeing your family doctor to determine whether you or a relative suffer from chronic migraines, it is advisable to keep a record of your headaches and migraines, including their intensity and the pain relievers taken.

Dr. Martin Veilleux is a neurologist at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital and an assistant professor at McGill University. He graduated from the Université de Sherbrooke and has been practicing as a neurologist since 1986.

REFERENCES:

1- www.achenet.org/ressources

2- Statistics Canada. 2011 Census of Canada: Topic-based tabulations . Accessed February 12, 2013.

3- World Health Organization (WHO).  Fact Sheet No 277: Headache Disorders.  Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs277/en/. Accessed October 20, 2011.

4- Cost associated with lost productive time among working adults with chronic and episodic migraine in the United States and Canada. Maglinte and cie. Presented at : American Academy of Neurology(AAN) 36 Annual Meeting, April 9-16 2011.

SOURCE: 1001 Visuels Inc.

For further information:

Anna Puccio, coordinator at Queen Elizabeth Health Complex in Montreal, 514-485-5030

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1001 Visuels Inc.

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