Burden of migraine. A review of its socioeconomic impact

Pharmacoeconomics. 1997:11 Suppl 1:1-10. doi: 10.2165/00019053-199700111-00003.


According to population-based epidemiological studies using International Headache Society diagnostic criteria, the prevalence of migraine in developed countries ranges from 8 to 14%. These prevalence figures confirm the widespread nature of the disorder. Moreover, as migraine is a chronic episodic disorder that predominantly affects people during their working lives (between the ages of 25 and 55 years), indirect costs associated with reduced productivity represent a substantial proportion of the total cost of migraine. The results of health-related quality-of-life studies demonstrate that migraine has a considerable impact on functional capacity, resulting in disrupted work and social activities. Many migraineurs, however, do not seek medical attention, have not been accurately diagnosed by a physician or do not use prescription medication. Therefore, the direct costs of treatment for migraine are relatively small compared with the indirect costs. Migraine is an important chronic illness that has a major impact on the working sector of a population. The overall cost attributable to migraine is unknown, but it is now established that the indirect costs of migraine outweigh the direct costs and therefore represent an obvious target for healthcare intervention aimed at reducing the impact of this chronic condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / economics*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life