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Economic Impact of Migraines

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Migraine is a severe form of headache and symptoms can last anything form a few hours to a few days, with some individuals affected on a regular basis for the whole of their lives.

There have been several studies examining the cost of migraine attacks on the economy, in terms of both medical costs and lost productivity.

Nearly 12% to 28% of the world’s adult population suffers from migraine at some point in life. In the United Kingdom, one in four women and one in 12 men are migraine sufferers.

In the European community, the cost of migraine attacks is estimated to be more than €27 billion per year. In the United states, the cost has been estimated at $17 billion. Almost a tenth of this cost is accounted for by the use of triptans to relieve symptoms, while $15 billion is accounted for by indirect costs such as work absenteeism. Among individuals who do attend work with a migraine, effectiveness at work is decreased by about a third.

One study showed that in 2000, migraine accounted for an average of 8.3 days absenteeism and 11.2 days of reduced productivity per individual each year, with an overall estimated cost to employers of US$ 3,309 per sufferer.

In the United Kingdom, migraine costs the National Health Service (NHS) around £20 to 30 million per year and forms around 0.1% of total NHS expenditure. In fact, migraine accounts for 25% of all annual sicknesses per head in the manufacturing industry and forms around 20% of the annual sick leave under the NHS in the UK.

Reviewed by , BSc

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Last Updated: Mar 26, 2014

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