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One in five migraine sufferers say every aspect of their daily life is impacted by their headaches, according to a recent Léger Marketing survey.

Reprinted with permission from the Pfizer Canada Inc.

MONTREAL Quebec - December 2, 2004 – With the holidays just around the corner and plans for family and social festivities underway, the vast majority (87 per cent) of migraine sufferers confirm they have had to interrupt their daily activities at some time or another no matter what time of year.

Though it is commonly assumed that a migraine attack affects different aspects of a person's life, according to a recent survey conducted by Léger Marketing and Pfizer Canada, this condition affects Canadian migraine sufferers' work (41 per cent), social life (10 per cent), and family activities (17 per cent), 21 per cent say it affects every single aspect of their lives. These are among the findings of the recent Canadian survey of 1,000 migraine sufferers aged 18 to 50.

More troubling, though, is the finding that when a migraine strikes, 7 per cent of female migraine sufferers admit to not being able to care for their children, 13 per cent of migraine sufferers have had to take days off work, and 18 per cent report that they "can't do anything" and had to stop their daily activities and/or sleep.

"There is no question that migraine attacks have a serious and profound impact on people's lives and activities," said Dr. Stéphane Ledoux, a neurologist at the Montreal Migraine Clinic. "Any migraine sufferer will tell you that a migraine is more than just a simple headache. Without the right migraine treatment, migraine sufferers may have to stay at home for days due to an extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and other reactions associated with a migraine attack," added Dr. Ledoux.

Impact of Migraine on Daily Life
The survey was conducted in mid-October 2004, among 1,000 Canadian migraine sufferers (2/3 women; 1/3 men) aged 18 to 50, with the goal of evaluating the impact of migraine on their daily life. Findings suggest that:

  • 82 per cent of Canadians with migraines said the pain they feel is severe enough to make it difficult or impossible for them to get through a normal day
  • In Canada, more women than men suffer from migraines (68 per cent of sufferers are women vs. 32 per cent men)
  • Over one-half of Canadian migraine sufferers (55 per cent) said they have had to make lifestyle changes in order to avoid getting headaches
  • One out of four migraine sufferers (25 per cent) admit that their headaches have gotten in the way of their sexual activities or libido. This is particularly true for women
  • While half of migraine sufferers have migraines on occasion (52 per cent), one out of five of them have them frequently (18 per cent)
  • Medication taken by migraine sufferers to alleviate their attacks is diverse. Most rely on over-the-counter analgesics to relieve their pain, while others turn to prescription medication and only eight per cent (8 per cent) turn to migraine-specific prescription medicines (triptans).

"Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen may be effective for the treatment of some migraines, but also may have gastro-intestinal side effects, which limit their use since larger than normal doses may be required to treat the migraine attack," explains Dr. Ledoux. "People with more severe pain may need prescription medicine, such as a triptan, which is a class of medicine that has proven effective in providing symptomatic relief of migraine attacks."

Migraine an Under-Diagnosed and Under-Treated Disease

Despite the impact and prevalence of migraine, the condition remains significantly under-diagnosed and under-treated. Less than half of sufferers have been diagnosed.

A migraine is characterized by a throbbing pain usually on one side of the head. But it is more than just a headache. Migraine is a recurring condition with multiple symptoms that can include: nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound and also visual distortions (called auras), including flashes of light. A migraine can last from four to 72 hours. With migraine pain and other uncomfortable symptoms, the most routine activity may seem impossible.

Research has not yet identified the exact cause of migraine but certain factors seem to have a role in triggering migraines. They include caffeine, wine, alcohol, aged cheeses, flavour enhancers or food preservatives, irregular sleep patterns, hormonal changes, stress, anxiety and environmental factors.

Screening for Migraine
A validated screening tool, called ID Migraine©, is a simple three-question yes/no test that was recently designed by migraine researchers to help physicians better screen for migraine, particularly in the primary care setting. Answering "yes" to two out of three questions effectively identifies migraine sufferers with 93 per cent accuracy, according to the validated clinical study published in the journal Neurology. ID Migraine© screening questions are:

  • Has a headache limited your activities for a day or more in the last three months?
  • Are you nauseated or sick to your stomach when you have a headache?
  • Does light bother you when you have a headache?

A patient answering yes to two out of three questions should consult his/her physician.

New Migraine Treatment Now Available in Canada
A new treatment option is now available from Pfizer Canada for Canadians who suffer from migraine. RELPAX™ (eletriptan hydrobromide) has been shown in clinical studies that it can provide relief in as early as 30 minutes following use. RELPAX tablets are available by prescription and are indicated for the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults.
The efficacy of RELPAX has been demonstrated and supported in numerous clinical trials. In all studies, the percentage of patients achieving headache response two hours after treatment was significantly greater among patients receiving RELPAX tablets compared to those who received a placebo. Headache response occurred in as little as 30 minutes following dosing.

The proportion of patients achieving pain-free status (decrease in pain from moderate to severe, to absence of pain) at two hours was also statistically significant. A decreased incidence of sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea in patients experiencing migraines with those symptoms was observed in patients receiving RELPAX. Sixty-eight per cent of patients treated with RELPAX returned to normal, or near normal, levels of functioning within two hours post-dose.

The safety and tolerability of RELPAX has been demonstrated and supported by the treatment of more than 11,000 subjects and 74,000 migraine attacks in clinical trial.

RELPAX is a product in the class of drugs known as "triptans." The maximum daily dose of RELPAX is 40 mg. RELPAX tablets should be taken as early as possible after the onset of a migraine attack, but are also effective if taken at a later stage. RELPAX tablets should be swallowed whole with water and should only be used where a clear diagnosis of migraine has been established. The most common side effects reported with treatment with RELPAX were asthenia (weakness), nausea, dizziness and somnolence. Events seen with RELPAX are similar to those reported with triptans as a class. Complete RELPAX safety information is available in the Product Monograph.

RELPAX has received regulatory approval in 73 countries including the U.S. and European Union member countries, among others.

About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines for both humans and animals, as well as many of the world's best-known over-the-counter healthcare products. Pfizer Canada employs more than 2,300 people across the country. Canadian headquarters of Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals Group is in Kirkland, Quebec. For more information, please visit:



Rhonda O'Gallagher
Pfizer Canada Inc.

(514) 693-4090/(514) 708-6552

Isabelle Pleszczynska/Roch Landriault

(514) 843-2051/(514) 843-2345


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