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June 2006
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August 2006

Choosing Headache and Migraine Disease Books

There's no fool proof way to know how good a book is before you read it. There are also books that I like to call "buffet books" because I "digest" the parts I think are good and relevant and ignore the rest. These books have some sections that are quite good, but others that aren't so good or are even bad. They can still be worth reading as long as you know which sections to take seriously and which to leave behind. None of us has unlimited funds to spend on books, but with some checking, we can build a great library that allows us to be educated and empowered patients. Feature article.

Soldiers in Iraq: Migraines Up, Management Down. What's the problem?

Migraine disease affects 6-8% of men and 18% of women or 12% of the U.S. population. For the first time, a study has been conducted to assess the prevalence, impact, and management of Migraine among U.S. soldiers in combat.

This retrospective study was conducted on a brigade of soldiers returning from a tour of combat duty in Iraq. The results of the study were surprising, both in the prevalence of Migraine disease among the soldiers and in the sub-optimal medical care they received. Feature article.

Medco... Skip their customer service; it's useless!

Today, I can honestly say that I understand why some people buy medicaitons from those Internet pharmacies that don't require prescriptions!

Our medical insurance includes prescription coverage, and we're strongly "encouraged" to order our meds in 90-day supplies from their mail-order provider, Medco. In fact, we're so strongly encouraged that when we do order through Medco, our part of the cost is 25% of the prescription price; as opposed to the 50% we have to pay if we use local pharmacies for meds we take on a regular basis.

On June 30, I went to Medco's Web site and ordered refills of my Verelan PM and Singulair prescriptions. Over the weekend, I went to their site, and saw that the prescriptions weren't scheduled to ship until July 13. To make matters worse, I received an automated phone call this morning. The call informed me that shipment of my prescriptions had been delayed and instructed me to call customer service if I had less than a three-day supply on hand.

Given the fact that I'd taken the last of those meds yesterday, I called customer service. The agent estimated the delivery date to be July 20, 10 days away, and did a computer authorization for me to be able to pick up a 7-day supply at our local pharmacy. He said that was the best he could do.

Now, I'm not the best at math, but even I can tell that means I'd still be three days without medication. I wouldn't be concerned about some meds, but the Verelan PM is actually prescribed by three of my doctors for severe hypertension, coronary artery disease, and Migraine prevention. It's not just inconvenient for me to be out of that drug, it's potentially dangerous.

I emailed Medco's customer service department, and the only thing that was in their obviously copied and pasted email that hadn't been said on the phone this morning was that I could call one of their pharmacists of I have "any questions about the effects of missing doses of your medication." Well, I don't need to talk with a pharmacist to have that question answered. I've been very well educated by my doctors about the possible consequences of missing doses.

So, if you're making any decisions regarding insurance prescription coverage, and you have choices, I'd tell you to give careful thought before enrolling with Medco. Not only do they sometimes have problems with delays on delivery, they don't seem to be much concerned with the risks to patients of not having our medications.

The Basics of Clinical Trials

We often hear about new treatments literally years before they're available to us because they're reported on when still in clinical trials. What are clinical trials? How do they work? With the answers to these questions, you can learn more about them and determin if you may be interested in participating.

Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. These frequently asked questions provide detailed information about clinical trials. In addition, it is often helpful to talk to a physician, family members, or friends about deciding to join a trial. After identifying some trial options, the next step is to contact the study research staff and ask questions about specific trials. Feature article.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Short-Circuiting Migraines?

Researchers at the Ohio State University have completed a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study testing the use of a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) device to abort Migraine with aura. The findings of their study were presented at the 48th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society (AHS) on June 23, 2006. Feature article.

Headache or Migraine Emergency: ER or Urgent Care?

Imagine this scenario... You've had a Migraine for three days. It's out of control, has lasted long enough to be classified as Status Migrainous, and you know you need help. It's also the weekend, and nobody is in at your doctor's office. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, that scenario or at least one that's similar, is familiar to all too many people who suffer from Migraine disease or severe headaches.

Recently, the National Headache Foundation (NHF) conducted an online survey to compare the care received and the attitudes met with during visits to the ER and urgent care facilities (UC). The study provided some interesting results... Feature article.