Perceptions and needs of patients with migraine: a focus group study

J Fam Pract. 2002 Feb;51(2):142-7.


Objective: This study's purpose was to identify the areas that people find most difficult in living with migraines and, in that regard, what kinds of assistance would be most helpful to them and to other people who have migraine headaches.

Study design: Four focus groups, each consisting of 4 to 8 participants, were held. Discussions, which were recorded and organized according to category and theme, focused on problems in living with migraines and effective treatment of migraines.

Population: Participants were 24 people who had been experiencing 1 to 2 migraines a month, each lasting 1 to 2 days, for at least 6 months.

Results: Five themes emerged: (1) impact on family, (2) misunderstanding by others, (3) effect on work, (4) physician care issues, and (5) issues related to medical insurance and drug companies. A majority of participants identified early treatment as the most important consideration for new migraine sufferers. Many participants preferred to have a relationship with their physicians in which they developed a treatment plan together rather than receiving generic educational materials.

Conclusions: Results suggest that patients are interested in understanding their migraines and securing relevant information in addition to obtaining pain relief. Patients desired collaborative relationships with their physicians and a team approach to treatment. Suggestions for physicians who treat patients who have migraines are reviewed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Costs
  • Employment
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*
  • Ohio
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Quality of Life*
  • Social Adjustment