How You Might Defeat Migraines Going Forward

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You can have as many good intentions about getting through your day as you want; anyone who's been poleaxed by a migraine knows they all go out the window as soon that headache and its side effects pounce. In cold, hard economic terms, Americans lose about $22 billion a year to migraines, thanks to losing work hours, on-the-job productivity as we try to muscle through it, and straight-up medical costs. There's hope for better treatments, though, including possible preventive measures.

The New York Times' Jane E. Brody lays out the state of the field, including the barriers patients encounter in simply trying to navigate the health care system. "Forty percent of people with migraine should be on preventive medication," one doctor told Brody, "but only 13 percent get it." Insurance firewalls and complicated appeals processes for both providers and patients can trip up people who just want relief.

Two new types of treatment are showing promise, though. The first doesn't involve any drugs at all; rather, it's a neurostimulating armband you wear that delivers weak electrical pulses controlled through an app in your phone. It's called Nerivio Migra, and it won FDA approval last year. The other option is a medicine approved by the FDA in late December, and it's a tablet patients can take as soon as they start feeling symptoms of a migraine. We lose enough to these full-body neurological events, both economically and personally. Hopefully soon we'll have a better chance of punching back.