The burden of migraine in the United States: current and emerging perspectives on disease management and economic analysis

Value Health. Jan-Feb 2009;12(1):55-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4733.2008.00404.x. Epub 2008 Jul 30.


Objectives: Migraine is often perceived as a low-impact condition that imposes a limited burden to society and the health-care system. This study reviews the current understanding of the burden of migraine in the U.S., the history of economic understanding of migraine treatment and identifies emergent trends for future studies evaluating clinical and economic outcomes of migraine treatment.

Methods: This study traced the history of economic articles published on migraine by performing a literature search using PubMed MEDLINE database and ancestral searches of relevant articles. The intention was not to provide an exhaustive review of every article or adjudicate between studies with different findings.

Results: Migraine affects millions of individuals worldwide, generally during the most productive years of a person's life. Studies show that migraineurs are underdiagnosed, undertreated, and experience substantial decreases in functioning and productivity, which in turn translates into diminished quality of life for individuals, and financial burdens to both health-care systems and employers. Economic evaluations of migraine therapies have evolved with new clinical developments beginning with cognitive-behavioral therapy, introduction of triptans, concern over medication overuse, and emergence of migraine prophylaxis. Now recent clinical studies suggest that migraine may be a progressive disease with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and long-term neurologic effects.

Conclusions: Migraine imposes a substantial burden on patients, families, employers and societies. The economic standards by which migraine and treatment are evaluated have evolved in response to clinical developments. Emerging evidence suggests that migraine is a chronic and progressive disease. If confirmed, approaches to acute and prophylactic treatments and economic evaluations of migraine treatment may require major reconsideration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Efficiency
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / economics*
  • Quality of Life
  • United States
  • Young Adult