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AAN 2023 | The need for patient-centered care in headache disorders to improve outcomes and management

Nina Yakovlevna Riggins, MD, FAAN, from the University of California, San Francisco, CA, emphasizes the importance of a patient-centred approach to treatment and discusses how to implement it effectively. In her talk, Dr. Riggins highlights the significance of shared decision-making and taking a holistic approach to patient care, going beyond simply addressing headaches. She believes that listening to patients is crucial and recognizes the power of their voices. The goal is to incorporate the best treatment protocols for managing patients with migraine and headache disorders while ensuring that everything done is centered around the patients’ needs and preferences. Dr. Riggins actively collaborates with patient advocacy groups, serving on the board of “Miles for Migraine” and working with organizations like “Migraine Again” to provide patient education. Coming together as a community, they address various issues, such as insurance approvals for neuromodulation devices. Dr. Riggins sees a huge potential for the use of devices, which typically have a preferable side effect profile. By collaborating with patients and the community, she aims to make these devices more accessible and improve education and training for headache specialists, with the support of organizations like “Miles for Migraine.” The need for more headache specialists is emphasized to keep up with the advancements in new treatments. Additionally, Dr. Riggins mentions a promising finding in small molecule research that may offer a new target for migraines. The PACAP pathway has shown promise as a potential novel therapeutic target in the treatment of migraine and could emerge as a new line of treatment. In summary, Dr Riggins advocates for a patient-centered approach that involves shared decision-making, collaboration with patient advocacy groups, active listening, and efforts to improve education, accessibility, and specialized care. By incorporating these strategies, she aims to enhance patient outcomes and the overall management of migraines and headache disorders. This interview took place at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in 2023 in Boston, MA.

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