A multidisciplinary medical approach to headache treatment by physicians and nurses can significantly improve quality of life in patients with migraines, according to a prospective study published in Headache.
Investigators prospectively evaluated 162 patients with migraine to assess the effects of a 12-month nursing intervention on migraine outcomes and quality of life. The nursing intervention strategy used in the study was based on a motivational approach and “on education of migraine, identification of personal risk factors and triggers, and links with a healthy lifestyle.” Patients treated by a nurse and a physician (active group) were compared with a control group in which patients were treated by a physician only. The primary outcome was changes at 8 months in the Headache Impact Test score (HIT-6), a 6-point questionnaire that assesses the functional impact of headaches.
According to the patients’ headache diaries, researchers found similar reductions in monthly headache days and comparable percentages of chronic migraines reverting to episodic status in the 2 groups. In addition, the success rate of prophylaxis was significantly higher among patients treated by a physician only vs those treated by a physician and nurse (55.6 vs 27.7%, P =.002).
A nurse and physician intervention strategy, however, was associated with significantly greater reductions in HIT-6 scores from baseline when compared with controls (5.23 ± 9.18 vs 2.10 ± 9.27, respectively; P =.030). Headache Management Self-Efficacy Scale scores, which evaluated patient-perceived self-efficacy, rose by 14.35 ± 18.41 in the nursing intervention group vs 4.69 ± 21.22 in the physician-only group (P =.002).
Investigators note that patients in this study had migraines with varying levels of severity, potentially limiting the interpretation and application of the findings for specific migraine types.
“This study shows that a brief nursing intervention based on lifestyle adjustment, paired with phone support, improves the function and the self-efficacy of [those with migraine],” concluded the researchers.
Leroux E, Beaudet L, Boudreau G, et al. A nursing intervention increases quality of life and self-efficacy in migraine: a 1-year prospective controlled trial [published online September 15, 2017]. Headache. doi: 10.1111/head.13178