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 never used a CGRP to have positive relationships with their healthcare professionals (HCPs) but negative quality of life. The survey illuminates the perspectives and experiences of people impacted by migraine.
CGRPs are a new class of therapies developed specifically for the treatment of migraine. There are currently three preventive CGRPs on the market – with the first receiving Food and Drug Administration approval in May 2018 – that are approved for use in chronic and frequent episodic migraine. Additionally, the first abortive CGRP for the acute treatment of migraine was approved in December 2019, after Migraine In America 2019 fielded.
More than three-fourths of the 4,716 Migraine In America 2019 respondents reported having chronic migraine, which the American Migraine Foundation describes as experiencing migraine at least 15 days per month, when untreated. Since people with more severe migraine classifications are more apt to use a preventive CGRP, a detailed analysis of just chronic migraine respondents allows for an accurate illustration of how patient journeys differ between those who currently use a CGRP and those who have never used one.
More than a third of chronic migraine respondents said they currently use a preventive CGRP, while more than half have never used one; additionally, 13% had previously used a preventive CGRP.
The survey findings show there is a relationship between symptoms experienced and CGRP use. Chronic migraine respondents who are using a CGRP were more likely to say their migraine attacks have increased over time and that they currently experience a wide array of symptoms during migraine attacks, including head pain, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, loss of words, memory loss and sensitivity to touch.
The patient journeys of chronic migraine respondents who currently use or have never used a CGRP can also vary wildly for a number of factors, including relationships with HCPs and quality of life.
Chronic migraine respondents currently using a CGRP were more likely to rate their relationships with HCPs positively for most factors. Those include satisfaction with the care received from their HCP, 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.
The type of HCP that people visit could potentially contribute to the quality of HCP relationships. Specifically, chronic migraine respondents who currently use a CGRP are more likely than those who have never used one to most often see headache specialists and neurologists. Meanwhile, those who have never used a CGRP are more likely to most often see primary care physicians and chiropractor, as well as not regularly see any HCPs.
Possibly linked to the volume of symptoms experienced, chronic migraine respondents who currently use a CGRP 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.
Conversely, chronic migraine respondents who have never used a CGRP were more likely to say they feel confident they can do things other than just taking medications to reduce the effects of migraine on their everyday lives.
“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, co-founder and president of Health Union. “Online health communities, like Migraine.com, give people a safe, supportive environment where they can connect with others like them and learn important information about treatment options and experience.”
Migraine In America 2019 surveyed 4,716 people – all diagnosed with migraine and/or cluster headache – from July 18 to Sept. 29, 2019.