Behavioral Techniques a Better Value for Chronic Migraine Than Meds: Study

Over time, relaxation training, hypnosis, biofeedback more cost-effective than drugs

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FRIDAY, July 8, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral treatments such as relaxation training, hypnosis and biofeedback to help prevent chronic migraine headaches are cost-effective alternatives to prescription drugs, a new study suggests.

Researchers compared the costs of several types of behavioral treatment with preventive prescription drugs. After six months, minimal-contact behavioral treatment was comparable with drug treatment using medicines that cost 50 cents or less per day.

In minimal-contact treatment, a patient sees a therapist a few times a year and for the most part practices the behavioral techniques at home, helped by literature or audio tapes.

After one year, minimal-contact therapy was nearly $500 cheaper than drug treatment.

The study is published in the June issue of the journal Headache.

Initially, the daily cost of prescription drugs taken as a preventive measure by many chronic migraine sufferers may not seem too high, said study co-author Dr. Donald Penzien, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

"But those costs keep adding up with additional doctor visits and more prescriptions. The cost of behavioral treatment is front-loaded. You go to a number of treatment sessions but then that's it. And the benefits last for years," he said in a medical center news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about migraine.

SOURCE: University of Mississippi Medical Center, news release, July 5, 2011

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