Risk perception, beliefs about medicines and medical adherence among pregnant and breastfeeding women with migraine: findings from a cross-sectional study in Norway
AuthorAmundsen, Siri; Øvrebø, Torunn Gudmestad; Amble, Netta Marie Skretteberg; Poole, Anne Christine; Nordeng, Hedvig Marie Egeland
Design and setting: Cross-sectional study conducted in Norway from October 2013 to February 2014. Data were collected via an anonymous, electronic questionnaire.
Participants: Women with migraine, either pregnant or having delivered within the previous 18 months.
Main outcomes: Women’s perception of teratogenic risk (numeric rating scale 0–10) was obtained for 14 different drugs/substances, including medications commonly used in the acute treatment of migraine. Women’s perspectives on migraine drug therapy were assessed by 10 statements from the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQSpecific) and six pregnancy/breastfeeding-specific statements. Adherence to migraine treatment during pregnancy and breastfeeding period was assessed by maternal self-report.
Results: The study population included 401 women with migraine, of which 140 were pregnant and 261 were new mothers. More than 70% of the women reported use of migraine medications during pregnancy. Still, the majority severely overestimated the risk associated with migraine medications and were concerned about using medications to manage their migraine during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Almost 9 out of 10 women had at some point deliberately avoided using migraine medications during their pregnancy. Women reporting use of migraine medications, however, were more positive and overestimated to a lesser extent the risks of using such medications in pregnancy compared with their counterparts.
Conclusions: Women with migraine severely overestimated the risk associated with migraine pharmacotherapy in pregnancy. The majority of women were concerned about use of migraine medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding and reported non-adherence to needed treatment. More attention should be focused on women’s beliefs and concerns regarding migraine pharmacotherapy during pregnancy and breastfeeding in order to improve management of disease, reduce unfounded concerns and enhance adherence to needed treatment.