The Migraine Association of Ireland’s (MAI) Chief Executive Patrick Little has asked for an increased access to appropriate headache medications and advice for pharmacists.
Little said the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) was considering whether Sumatriptan, also used to treat a rare condition called cluster headache, should be available off-prescription.
Little said pharmacists had a key role to play in improving services for migraine sufferers.
He said pharmacists could be trained so they could identify migraine sufferers who would benefit from taking the fast-acting drug, that is 80% effective if taken early in the attack when the pain is milder.
According to MAI, it is essential for pharmacists to obtain an accurate headache history from the sufferer before any treatment is recommended.
Past patients should be encouraged to return to the pharmacy for a review of the severity of their illness and response to treatment of their headaches/migraine on a regular basis.
Sumatriptan is available in a nasal spray or tablet. The spray is recommended for people with nausea and is classed as an over the counter medicine in the UK.
Migraine is the most common neurological condition in the world with around half a million people suffering from migraine in Ireland. Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) President Rory O’Donnell said most migraine sufferers would have been diagnosed with the neurological condition by their doctor.
O Donnell said, “The majority of migraine sufferers have already been diagnosed with migraine by their doctor and, for regular or severe sufferers, have more than likely been previously prescribed Sumatriptan as a treatment.”
He continued, “Once a migraine headache starts, the sooner this medicine is taken, the more effective it is. As pharmacists are the most accessible part of the healthcare system, they are ideally placed to provide the assistance needed and to support the sufferer in treating their migraine attack in a timely fashion.”
The MAI held a seminar to celebrate their 20th Anniversary on the latest migraine and headache treatments. Some of the world’s foremost neurologists, researchers and headache experts attended the Conference.