Chronic migraine found to severely impact work and personal life

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Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, however less than half of those sufferers receive a diagnosis from a healthcare provider. Key findings from a recent study show that chronic migraine remains largely undiagnosed and untreated and has a severe impact on one’s ability to lead a productive life, personally and professionally.

The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study reports that chronic migraine remains a largely under-diagnosed and under-treated medical condition. One in five chronic migraine sufferers cannot work due to the severity of their condition. Chronic migraine severely impacts one’s ability to lead a productive life.

A new analysis of one of the preeminent data sets on migraine illustrates the truly debilitating nature of chronic migraine on one’s work and personal life. An objective of the analysis was to evaluate the disability profile and patterns of treatment and healthcare use for chronic migraine in the general population in contrast to episodic migraine.

Those with chronic migraine experience headache attacks at least 15 days per month, with most experiencing headache pain every day. Of the estimated 30 million Americans who suffer from migraine, approximately one million – mostly women – are chronic migraineurs.

Key Findings On Chronic Migraine

· Chronic migraine remains a largely under-diagnosed and under-treated medical condition.

While the vast majority of individuals with chronic migraine (87.6%) had sought care from a healthcare professional, just 20.2% of those with chronic migraine received a diagnosis of chronic migraine, chronic daily headache or transformed migraine. Another nearly 14% were told that they had rebound headache or medication overuse headache.

Migraine-specific acute treatments were used by 31.6% of respondents with chronic migraine. Almost half (48%) of the individuals with chronic migraine were satisfied with their acute therapies. A third of those with chronic migraine (33.3%) were currently using preventive medications.

Although most individuals with chronic migraine sought medical care for this disorder, the majority did not receive specific acute or preventive medications.

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· One in five chronic migraine sufferers cannot work due to the severity of their condition.

Over a 3-month period, 8.2% of the chronic migraineurs missed at least 5 days of work and school. Further, slightly more than a third (33.8%) of these sufferers reported at least 5 days of significant reduction in productivity during the same time frame.

· Chronic migraine severely impacts one’s ability to lead a productive life.

More than half of those with chronic migraine (57.4%) missed at least 5 days of household work, and 58.1% reported a reduction in productivity in household work for at least 5 days within the last three months.

Chronic migraineurs also reported missing out on at least 5 days of family activities within the three month period.

“With one in five chronic migraine sufferers not being able to work due to the severity of their condition, the human and economic costs to these patients, their families and their employers are staggering,” said Suzanne E. Simons, Executive Director, National Headache Foundation. “This report shows there is much work to be done to help them get the proper diagnosis and treatment they need to be able to lead productive lives.”

To learn more about chronic migraine, please visit the NHF website at www.headaches.org or find a headache specialist in your area.

About the American Migraine Prevalence & Prevention Study (AMPP)

The AMPP Study is based on data examining nearly 163,000 Americans age 12 and older selected to be representative of the U.S. population. Based on a mailed, validated questionnaire, researchers reviewed headache symptoms and frequency, impairment, current or past use of migraine prevention medications (prescribed and/or over-the-counter) and use of medications prescribed for other indications but known to prevent migraine headaches (coincident use).

Twenty-four thousand headache sufferers, identified from the larger sample, were followed up with annual surveys using validated questionnaires for the diagnosis of episodic migraine and chronic migraine. As a part of the survey, subjects were asked to report the specific medications currently used for their most severe headaches, as well as level of satisfaction with treatment.

This study was sponsored by the National Headache Foundation through grants from Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc., and Allergan, Inc.

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