Applying the benefits of the AwM Study in the clinic

D. W. Dodick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The Act when Mild (AwM) Study has illustrated the benefits to migraineurs of taking triptan medication when their migraine pain is still mild and within 1 h of the onset of symptoms. Yet many patients wait until the attack has fully developed before taking their medication, with potentially inferior outcomes. In order to reproduce the benefits of early intervention using the AwM paradigm in daily practice, a number of key barriers need to be addressed at both the physician and patient level. Notable physician-related barriers to be overcome, particularly at the primary care level, include accuracy of an early diagnosis of migraine in newly presenting patients, communication skills that generate a therapeutic engagement with migraine patients and enhance patient confidence, the application of knowledge about up-to-date strategies to optimize treatment outcomes, and the setting of achievable goals to avoid unrealistic expectations. Patient-related obstacles that need to be identified and overcome encompass patient attitude, expectations, and behaviour. Migraine patients may be reluctant to consult their physician, and, of those who do, many stop consulting because they perceive that physicians can do little to improve their situation. For this reason, migraine patients need to be counselled about the most appropriate medication for their level of symptoms. Moreover, patients need to be confident before they will adhere routinely to the advice they receive, and high in the priority of advice is the use of medication, particularly triptans, at the first sign of a migraine attack, rather than waiting until their attack has progressed to moderate or severe intensity. Patients who adhere to this advice are likely to experience a notable reduction in the pain, disability and time lost that they would otherwise suffer. The beneficial effects of early triptan intervention illustrated in the AwM Study can therefore be best reproduced in the clinic if the correct advice given to patients is not only accepted and applied by them, but also followed up by their physician.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Early treatment
  • Migraine
  • Triptan
  • Window of opportunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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