Is Migraine a Progressive Disease?

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Key Questions
  • What is the prevalence of migraine disease in the U.S. and how is this trending over time?
  • What are some of the criteria used to measure the level of disability in individuals with migraine?
  • What is the Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) test and how is it used in treating migraine?
  • What are some of the patterns seen in the progression and disability levels of migraine?
  • What are low-frequency episodic migraine, high-frequency episodic migraine, and chronic migraine? How do they differ from one another in terms of disability assessment?
  • How have changes in triggers (e.g., climate change) and the release of new migraine treatments affected the prevalence and disability of migraine?
  • Can an increase in migraine education and awareness have an impact on the prevalence and disability levels reported by people living with migraine disease?
  • In what ways did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the prevalence and disability of migraine?
  • What are modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors and how are they used in tracking migraine progression?
  • What role do psychiatric comorbidities such as anxiety and depression play in the progression of migraine?
  • What is central sensitization and how does it impact the progression of migraine?
  • Are there any functional changes in the brain that can be used to predict migraine progression?
  • How can early intervention and treatment impact migraine progression in individuals?
  • What are some ways to prevent migraine disease from progressing?
Interview Notes
Treatments Mentioned
  • CGRP monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)
  • CGRP receptor antagonists (gepants)
  • Opioids
  • Rimegepant (Nurtec)
  • Triptans
  • Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy)

Please note: The Migraine World Summit’s aim is to bring you a variety of perspectives and expertise, independent of bias or judgment. Alternative theories presented in this video have not been medically reviewed. Views expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the views of the Migraine World Summit. Please always consult your health care professional and do your own research before making changes to your treatment plan.

Fred Cohen, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Neurology
Mount Sinai Headache and Facial Pain Center, Icahn School of Medicine

Dr. Fred Cohen is an assistant professor of medicine and neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai-New York City. Dr. Cohen received his medical degree from Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by a fellowship in headache medicine at the Jefferson Headache Center, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Dr. Cohen is one of the few headache specialists in the country trained in both internal medicine and headache medicine. His research has been published in several medical journals, including Headache, Cephalalgia, Pain Medicine, and Neurotherapeutics, and he serves on the editorial board for Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.

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Is Migraine a Progressive Disease?

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Our ongoing mission is to make life better for the millions of Americans living with headache disorders in our country. Founded in 2008, the AHDA is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit supported by member contributions and individual donors. We are proud to have never taken direct contributions from pharmaceutical companies. Members include organizations, medical providers, scientists, caregivers, and people living with headache disorders.

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At AbbVie, we are committed to empowering people living with migraine disease. We advance science that enables health care providers to care for people impacted across the spectrum of migraine. Through education and partnerships with the migraine community, we strive to help those with migraine navigate barriers to care, access effective treatments and reduce the impact of migraine on their lives. To learn more, visit

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