NPN | Your Pharmacy Can Help: Migraine

Migraines affect 1 in 7 people in the UK, and they’re complex - according to Jennifer L. Mazan, PharmD, a migraine can present differently at different times:

“Patients who experience migraines may experience nausea, vomiting, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light or sound, some may even experience an aura that precedes the headache. And once they’re pain-free, the patient may find that they’re tired, exhausted, or even irritable.”

Migraines can have a tremendous impact on the quality of life of those who suffer from them, and can often result in a lack of ability to carry out normal activities, according to Amy Dunleavy, PharmD:

“That throbbing pain, the nausea and vomiting, that photo and sound sensitivity really can affect the individual from being able to carry out their normal activities of daily life, keeping them from being able to be active with their loved ones, keeping them from work. And for individuals experiencing migraines, this can last for hours or even days.

When OTC painkillers don’t work, treating a migraine requires several steps - but 26% of people who experience them have never had a consultation or been given an evidence-based treatment. Identifying whether patients are experiencing a migraine is the first step most community pharmacists will take, by asking questions to sort severe headaches from migraine symptoms.

When a migraine has been identified, the pharmacist will offer advice, discussing symptoms to understand the type of migraine the patient is suffering from, and to recommend the best treatment, including preventative medications and medications that aim to offer freedom from pain within two hours of dosing. A community pharmacist can provide medication that will help with relieving the pain, and combat the symptoms of light and noise sensitivity, in addition to nausea.

Community pharmacists may also help the patient to manage their own health by providing the correct diagnosis, advice, treatment and support to help them through necessary lifestyle changes.

Speak to your local community pharmacist to receive support and advice regarding migraines or severe headaches, so you can carry out your normal activities without pain.