Primary headache patients diagnosed with more comorbidities have high healthcare costs, research shows

Research presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Nexus in early October in Washington, DC, showed that 60 percent of adult patients who were diagnosed with primary headache had one or more comorbidities which raised the average annual cost of their healthcare to over $20,000. This compares with the annual average healthcare cost of a US adult patient of $5,300.

The research, by GNS Healthcare, showed that of the 4.4 percent of the patients diagnosed with a primary headache during the year 59.3 percent had at least one or more additional functional disorders - anxiety, depression, widespread pain, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorder, tinnitus and asthma.

The annual costs rose even more steeply among the 25% of the primary headache patients who were diagnosed with two of these comorbidities to nearly $25,000 (see chart Fig 1). These findings were provided by GNS Healthcare’s analysis of the Truven database of over 20 million, US, commercially insured patients between the ages of 18 and 65.

Frank Amato CEO of electroCore who commissioned the research commented:

This research by GNS shows that the majority of patients with primary headache have one or more comorbidities and that they are very expensive patients to manage. It highlights the importance of our research into developing a proper care management strategy that improves patient health and reduces healthcare costs.

This analysis follows a study in the UK which found a very similar pattern of comorbidities with patients with primary headache. This research is continuing as the scientists involved are working to identify the root cause of the link between these conditions, and whether there may be a single underlying pathology driving an enhanced susceptibility to experiencing these medical conditions.

The incidence of migraine in the US is approximately 18% in women and 6% in men. The prevalence of migraine in children is 7.7%. Migraines affects more than  30 million Americans.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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