Almost 40 million people in the United States suffer from migraines. Worldwide, the number is around one billion. The World Health Organization ranks migraines as the sixth most common cause of disability. Most of the people who suffer from migraines are between the ages of 25 and 55.
A migraine is a throbbing headache on one side of the head that is sometimes accompanied by aura, nausea, or sensitivity to light. Migraines are more common in women and are believed to be hereditary.
Medical professionals, including pharmacists, can help people manage their migraines by giving them information about the condition and medications they can take and lifestyle adjustments they can make to alleviate the symptoms.
The Role of the Pharmacist
Because pharmacists are so readily available to patients, the pharmacist is an important source for help and guidance to patients suffering from migraines.
If a patient believes they suffer from migraines, the pharmacist can talk to the person about his history of headaches, what kind of pain he feels, how long it lasts, how often it occurs, and how strong the headache is.
If the person indicates that the headache lasts over a longer period of time, the pharmacist can refer the person to a physician.
For someone with migraines, the pharmacist can advise the person on how to control the pain and what kind of preventive measures are available to reduce the number of headaches. If the patient is taking medication, the pharmacist can follow up with the person to evaluate how effective the drugs are in controlling the headaches.
Pharmacists can also talk to patients about the instruments available to help them determine the severity of the pain. The pharmacist can also talk to patients about using a journal to record how often they experience migraines and how severe the pain is to help provide information to physicians when making decisions about treatment options.
Pharmacists can also work with patients to make sure they understand how the medications work, what adverse effects there might be, and how long it will take for the drug to alleviate symptoms.
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