Prevalence and impact of migraine and probable migraine in a health plan

Neurology. 2004 Oct 26;63(8):1432-8. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000142044.22226.54.


Background: A large number of headache sufferers with features of migraine fail to meet criteria for strict migraine (SM; migraine with or without aura) but do meet criteria for probable migraine (PM).

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of PM, to compare the epidemiologic profiles of SM and PM, and to assess the disability and impact on the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of these patients.

Methods: Computer-assisted telephone interviews in a sample recruited from a mixed model health maintenance organization were used. SM, PM, and control subjects were identified. Also assessed were demographic features, disability, HRQoL, and depression.

Results: The 1-year prevalence for SM was 14.7% (19.2% in women and 6.6% in men); for PM, it was 14.6% (15.9% in women, 12.6% in men). Most subjects with PM (82%) did not meet the associated symptom criteria for migraine. HRQoL was reduced in the PM, SM, and all migraine (AM; SM and PM pooled together) groups compared with controls. The proportion of subjects with high disability was elevated in PM (13%), SM (31%), and AM (22%) groups vs controls (3.7%; p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Within a health plan, probable migraine is a prevalent form of migraine, with symptom and epidemiologic profiles that overlap with strict migraine. Although strict migraine prevalence was consistent with previous studies, a probable migraine prevalence higher than previously reported was found, perhaps reflecting a difference between health plan and population samples.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Age Distribution
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Educational Status
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / classification
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology*
  • Prepaid Health Plans / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Distribution
  • Statistics as Topic