Navigation Links
Uninsured get poor care for migraine: Harvard study

Migraines, often characterized by excruciating headache and nausea, are much worse for the uninsured, a new Harvard Medical School study shows.

Researchers say migraine sufferers who lack private health insurance get poor care for their condition. They are about twice as likely to get inadequate treatment for their headaches as their privately insured counterparts. People with Medicaid also get substandard care.

Because migraine is common in the United States, affecting about 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men, and because so many Americans lack health insurance, a startling 5.5 million people are at risk of getting substandard care for their often painful and disabling headaches, the researchers say.

The study, titled "The impact of insurance status on migraine care in the United States: a population based study," was published today [Tuesday, April 13] in Neurology, the world's leading clinical neurology journal.

Study senior author Dr. Rachel Nardin, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard and chief of neurology at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, said: "The tragedy is that we know how to treat this disabling condition. But because they are uninsured or inadequately insured, millions of Americans suffer needlessly.

"Unfortunately," she said, "the new health law doesn't fully address this problem. At least 23 million people will remain uninsured nine years out.

"Optimizing migraine care requires improvement in our health care systems as well as educating physicians to prescribe the best available drug and behavioral treatments."

The researchers analyzed data from two federal surveys, the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which together provide a nationally representative sample of all U.S. visits to doctors' offices, hospital clinics and emergency rooms. They analyzed the 6,814 visits for migraine between 1997 and 2007, representing 68.6 million visits nationwide.

Neurologists recommend two types of drugs when a moderate-to-severe migraine strikes: "triptans" (such as sumatriptan) or dihydroergotamine (DHE). For the majority of migraine sufferers whose headaches are frequent or severe, neurologists also recommend a daily dose of one of several preventive medications.

The researchers used these recommendations from the American Academy of Neurology to define standard migraine treatment and found that the uninsured were nearly twice as likely as the privately insured to receive substandard treatment.

Medicaid enrollees were 50 percent more likely to receive substandard treatment, suggesting that "access to some forms insurance is not the same as access to adequate care," the researchers wrote.

Care in doctors' offices was substantially better than in emergency departments. The fact that the uninsured are less likely to get care in doctors' offices explained some, though not all, of their substandard care.

Most people with migraine are impaired by their headaches and the accompanying nausea, and lose an average of four to six days of work annually.

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, professor of medicine at Harvard and study co-author, said: "Lack of insurance clearly takes a heavy toll on our patients and the economy. Regrettably, the health bill just signed into law will leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured or poorly insured and thus unable to get the care they need."

Dr. Andrew Wilper, lead author of the study, said: "We showed that the uninsured have a higher risk of death when compared to those with insurance. Lack of insurance also puts patients with migraine at risk for needless suffering due to lack of access to standard medical therapy."


Contact: Mark Almberg
Physicians for a National Health Program

Related medicine news :

1. Finding Good Migraine Care a Headache for the Uninsured
2. NJHA: Charity Care Must Be a Priority as Uninsured Burden Grows
3. Consumer Health Insurance Site Founder: Health Reform or No Health Reform, Americans Can Help Reduce Rolls of the Uninsured
4. Free Health Care for the Uninsured Is Coming to Atlanta This Month
5. Health Care Reform Report Covers Uninsured, Reduces Costs
6. Free Health Care for the Uninsured Is Coming to Connecticut in February
7. Harvard School of Public Health unveils comprehensive, public online library of firearms research
8. Harvard Medical School releases 2010 Annual Report on Prostate Diseases
9. and Mike “Zappy” Zapolin Have Been Selected to Compete in Harvard Business School New Venture Contest
10. Partners Harvard Medical International Set to Play Key Role as Saudi Arabia Pursues Ambitious Health Care Transformation
11. Solutions for Sleep Problems: Harvard's Improving Sleep Special Health Report and New Sleep Apnea Video
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the November 27th edition of USA Today in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, ... of 750,000. The digital component is distributed nationally, through a vast social media ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Consistent with the Radiology Business Management ... Radiology Marketing Programs meeting will showcase some of the best 2015 radiology ... Palace in Las Vegas with a pre-conference session on a collaborative approach for ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Minn. (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... start failing. Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the needs ... income protection solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. However, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The men and women ... healthcare organizations in the country. They have overseen financial turnarounds, shown commitment to ... the healthcare industry as a whole through their advocacy and professional efforts. , ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer ... incorporation of Asterisk 11 LTS (Long Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 product ... Q-Suite 5.10 up-to-date with a version of Asterisk that will receive not only ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... , November 27, 2015 ... set to go online. The potential to save costs, ... vast and far from fully exploited as yet. Here, ... health records, either via mobile tablet or directly at ... --> ) -->      ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... 2015 ... "2016 Global Tumor Marker Testing Market: ... Sales Segment Forecasts, Innovative Technologies, Instrumentation Review, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Global Tumor Marker Testing Market: Supplier ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... the Netherlands , November 26, 2015 ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic ... the Netherlands has found that immunotherapy can ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: