A recent study conducted by researchers at King’s College in London, Canada, has revealed that doctors are twice as likely to give their female patients a prescription for a headache medication as they are for men who claim to have the same symptoms.
Headaches are among the top ten reasons that patients visit their doctors. Moreover, it is the reason for 20 percent of the sick leave cases across the workforce. A King’s College research team in London studied more than 500,000 family doctor consultations regarding cases involving headaches and came across some interesting findings.
Among the findings were that women are three times more likely to make an appointment to consult with their doctors regarding headache symptoms than their male counterparts. Among women, the consultation rate for headaches was 6.4 percent. Among men, on the other hand, it was only 2.5 percent.
The age range within which the highest number of consultations occurred was between 15 and 24 years old. One in three women in these cases were prescribed migraine medications, while these drugs were prescribed to only one in four men.
Age also appeared to play a role in the rate at which headache medication was being prescribed. For instance, middle age women were considerably more likely to receive one of these prescriptions than any other age group among females or among men as a whole.
Among all patients who consulted with their general practitioners regarding headaches, six percent received a referral to go on to consult with a specialist. These referrals were more likely to be handed over to male patients than to female ones. Half of the referrals that were issued to all of the headache patients were to neurologists.
The researchers believe that further study of this nature is required in order to identify why the patterns in headache frequency and in their treatments arise. At the moment, the researchers have not issued any theories to help explain why the trends in headache medication prescriptions and referrals are as they have been shown to be, but they did indicate that they are considering a follow up or additional study in order to help to look into that question.
Headaches are a condition that appears to be on the rise, which has brought about a growing number of studies that are looking into the various trends and explanations behind these temporarily and sometimes chronically debilitating discomforts.