JOURNAL ARTICLE

Evidence-based medicine and headache patient management by general practitioners in Italy

A Bianco, M M Parente, E De Caro, R Iannacchero, U Cannistrà, I F Angelillo
Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache 2005, 25 (10): 767-75
16162253
The study explores the awareness of technical terms used in evidence-based medicine (EBM) and manner of treating patients with migraine among a random sample of 500 general practitioners (GPs). A mailed questionnaire included questions on GPs' demographics and practice characteristics; awareness of EBM; sources of information about migraine and EBM; and patient's treatment behaviour. Only 27.2% of GPs agreed that clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy of treatments and this awareness was higher in those who learned about migraine from scientific journals or continuing education courses and who attended courses on EBM. For two-thirds of GPs, disability is equivalent to illness diagnosis, and this behaviour was more prevalent in those who agreed that clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy of preventive or curative treatments of migraine and that the clinical approach to migraine required an evaluation of clinical effectiveness, in those who treated a lower number of headache patients, who were older, and in those who did not use guidelines. The majority (93.1%) of GPs indicated that it is important to integrate clinical practice and the best available evidence, and this behaviour was significantly more frequent in those who agreed that the clinical approach to migraine required a clinical effectiveness evaluation, that clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy of preventive or curative treatments of migraine, and in those who attended courses on EBM. Training and continuing educational programmes on EBM and guidelines on treatments of headache for GPs are strongly needed.

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