Pfizer Highlights the Importance of Increasing Migraine Awareness and Early Referral to Improve Patient Outcomes in the UAE

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  • Migraine is the second most prevalent disease in the UAE, with a higher prevalence rate as compared to the global one
  • Pfizer hosted a virtual roundtable on Chronic Migraine Awareness Day to raise awareness about migraine and highlight ways to improve patient outcomes in the UAE

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: To mark the occasion of Chronic Migraine Awareness Day, held annually on 29 June, Pfizer hosted a virtual media roundtable to raise awareness about the disease and challenges that patients living with the condition face. Attended by reputed local medical professionals, the roundtable was designed to highlight the difference between a headache and a migraine, understand migraine triggers and how to manage them, and recognize when to see a neurologist.

A migraine is not just a bad headache. It is a debilitating neurological disease that causes an intense headache that may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, visual problems or increased sensitivity to light or sound. 

Migraines typically last between four hours and three days. Some people experience migraines several times a week. Others might only experience attacks every few years. Patients who experience headaches for fifteen days or more every month, eight of these being migraines, suffer from chronic migraines.

Although migraines are not life-threatening, they can negatively affect the quality of people’s lives, as they interfere significantly with occupational, educational, familial, and social responsibilities. According to recent market research conducted by Pfizer in partnership with IQVIA, migraine is the second most prevalent disease in the UAE, with a higher prevalence rate as compared to global level.

Professor Dr. Suhail Abdullah Alrukn, President of Emirates Neurology Society, Consultant Neurology, Rashid Hospital Associate Professor, Dubai Medical College, Dubai, UAE, commented, “In the UAE, around 86% of the migraine cases fall under the age range of 20-54. While the causes of migraine are not fully clear, we know that genetic and environmental factors play a role. In fact, with migraine often running in families, there is likely a genetic link. To avoid casually brushing aside the condition, it is important to understand how to differentiate a migraine from other types of a headache. The final phase of a migraine attack is called postdrome, and is sometimes referred to as a “migraine hangover”. Symptoms of this phase include fatigue, body aches, trouble concentrating, dizziness, and sensitivity to light, and we know that 80% of migraine patients experience it.”

Dr. Mohammed Al Kuwaiti, Assistant Professor, United Arab Emirates University, College of Medicine and Health Science, Department of Internal Medicine, Consultant Neurologist, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, UAE added, “It is important to keep working towards increasing migraine awareness and encouraging early referral to improve patient outcomes in the UAE. There are two primary types of treatments that are used: acute and preventive treatment. Acute medication can be used during an attack to relieve pain and stop migraines from progressing. On the other hand, preventive treatment aims to reduce the frequency, severity, and length of attacks, and extends beyond medication to include lifestyle changes and physical therapy. Fortunately, today the field of migraine management is advancing with new, more targeted medication, which can be given by different routes of administration either oral or injection, offering new horizons for patients. Therefore, patients must see a doctor if they suspect they may be experiencing a migraine.”

Dr. Nadine Tarcha, Gulf Medical Director, Pfizer, commented: “As a chronic disease impacting mental, physical and social well-being, migraine patients can face a lifetime of challenges impacting relationships and work productivity if not managed properly. This Chronic Migraine Awareness Day, we are throwing our weight behind raising awareness so that patients can understand better this disease, its symptoms, and triggers. At Pfizer Gulf, we remain committed to working closely with key members of the local healthcare ecosystem to ensure that we improve the migraine patient journey and outcomes.”

Pfizer recently announced the acquisition of Biohaven, the maker of an innovative dual-acting oral migraine therapy approved for both acute treatment and episodic prevention of migraine. 

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