Why is Migraine Still a Problem?

While the Prognosis for Migraine Patients’ Has Never Looked Brighter, There Are Still Unmet Needs to Address Which Could Potentially Improve the Quality Of Life for Individuals Suffering From This Often Debilitating Condition.

According to GlobalData’s report, ‘PharmaPoint: Migraine – Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2026’, the most pressing unmet need in migraine diagnosis is improved physician education. The report reveals that the low migraine diagnosis rate originates from a variety of factors including a lack of any diagnostic tests, and similarity to other indications such as cluster and tension-type headaches, as well as a lack of time for a physician to take a proper patient history. Rahael Maladwala, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData points out, ‘‘Just one year ago, treatments for both episodic and chronic patients’ were unable to provide adequate care for migraineurs for reasons including comorbidities, side-effects, and lack of efficacy. However, a promising late stage pipeline
is coming to fruition over the next few years which will mean migraine treatment is becoming less of a headache. Nonetheless, while treatments for migraine have improved over the last year, they can only have an impact if a patient is formally and correctly, diagnosed with the condition.”


Previously, treatments for migraine were limited to triptans for episodic migraineurs, which left a lot to be desired in terms of efficacy and a variety of repurposed drugs for chronic migraineurs, which often had safety issues on top of poor efficacy profiles. “In terms of acute treatment, which aims to stop one off migraine attacks, Eli Lilly are developing a drug called Lasmiditan, which can be used in a larger pool of patients’ (the current gold standard of treatment, triptans, cannot be used in patients’ with cardiovascular problems as vasoconstriction is a big issue with them) – this drug partially addresses that unmet need,” explains Maladwala.


According to Maladwala, finally, the big unmet need that is unlikely to be addressed is the need for physician education; the above treatments only work when migraine is correctly diagnosed however, often it can be confused with other types of headaches (cluster, tension type, medication overuse) which means the patient cannot be correctly treated. Therefore, there is an opportunity for pharma companies to teach physicians more about migraine and how best to go about diagnosing it. Migraine is one of the mostly highly prevalent neurological disorders in the world and it gets very little attention, which is why these treatments have taken so long to come to market and why it gets so little training. Moreover, in cases where treatment is not effective, there are non-pharma approaches that can be taken to improve quality of life, these include; educational classes on stress management, exercise, and biofeedback.

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