Headaches: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 26 July 2019.

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Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the adequacy of provision of treatment for people with migraines.

Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Holding answer received on 24 July 2019

The majority of patients with migraine can be managed through routine access to primary and secondary care. Migraine management is identified within the core competencies for the care for people with neurological conditions in the Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) GP curriculum. Migraines are also identified as an key area of clinical knowledge in the RCGP Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) content guide. The AKT is a summative assessment of the knowledge base that underpins general practice in the United Kingdom within the context of the National Health Service and is a key part of GPs’ qualifying exams.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline, ‘Headaches: Diagnosis and management of headaches in young people and adults’, published in 2012 and updated in 2015, sets out evidence based best practice for healthcare professionals in the care, treatment and support of people who suffer from migraines.

The usual treatment approaches to migraine are designed to either stop or prevent attacks. Treatments for acute migraine attacks include medications such as analgesics, triptans and anti-emetics (as recommended in NICE's guideline on headaches in over 12s).

Treatments to stop or reduce the frequency of migraine attacks include medications such as beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants and antiepileptics.

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