Effectiveness of a primary care-based group educational intervention in the management of patients with migraine: a randomized controlled trial

Prim Health Care Res Dev. 2019 Dec 13:20:e155. doi: 10.1017/S1463423619000720.


Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a primary care-based group educational intervention about concepts of pain neuroscience for the management of migraine compared to the routine medical care delivered to patients with this condition.

Background: The way pain is understood has been radically changed in recent decades, thanks to developments in the field of neuroscience. Thus, migraine may develop as a result of an exaggerated perception of threat that activates the pain neuromatrix, which might be modifiable, from a learning perspective, by adjusting the beliefs and behaviours that favour the onset of an attack.

Methods: A randomised controlled trial was carried out in five primary care health centres of Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country, Spain). The follow-up period was 12 months. The main outcome measure was the reduction in days lost due to migraine-related disability according to the Migraine Disability Assessment Test (MIDAS) score. Secondary outcome measures included the intensity and frequency of the pain and the number of analgesic drugs taken in the previous three months. A positive response to treatment was considered when the MIDAS score decreased by at least 50% from baseline.

Findings: Days lost due to migraine-related disability decreased by at least 50% in 68.9% (n = 37) of patients in the intervention group and 34.6% of patients in the control group (n = 18) (P < 0.001). The intensity of the headache [odds ratio (OR) 9.116; P = 0.005] and the medication intake (OR 13.267; P < 0.001) were also significantly reduced with the intervention.

Conclusions: The provision of suitable information through a group educational intervention delivered in primary care appears to be effective in preventing migraine attacks. Moreover, the intervention could offer a new cost-effective management alternative that seems to reduce the need for pharmacological treatment in patients with migraine.

Keywords: chronic migraine; educational models; migraine disorders; migraine treatment; neuroscience; primary care.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Spain / epidemiology


  • Analgesics