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Study reviews health risks, economic burden of migraine

A new study reviews the economic burden of migraine in the US and recent clinical findings of the health risks

Wiley

Falls Church, Va. - February 02, 2009 - A new study published in Value in Health reviews the economic burden of migraine in the U.S. and recent clinical findings of the health risks of this neurological condition. This study traces the history of economic articles published on migraine using the PubMed MEDLINE database and archival searches of relevant articles to identify possible health risks associated with migraines that warrant further study.

Migraine affects millions of individuals worldwide. Sufferers experience substantial decreases in functioning and productivity, results which in turn translate into diminished quality of life for individuals, financial burdens for health care systems and substantial lost work time that impacts individuals, employers, and societies alike. Migraine is a condition most prevalent in individuals between the ages of 25 and 55, generally the most productive years of a person's life.

Migraine is often perceived as a condition that imposes a minimal burden on society and the health care system. This misperception persists in part because the disorder is episodic and rarely causes long-term physical disability. Because it is under-diagnosed and under-treated, analyses of claims data underestimate the condition's prevalence and economic impact.

Recent clinical studies suggest that migraine may be a progressive disease with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and long-term neurologic effects. Suffering from migraines may also be a risk factor for brain lesions. Additionally, studies following those who suffer from migraine with aura (sensory, motor or visual disturbances that can precede or accompany the headache) have shown these individuals to be twice as likely as the general population to develop major cardiovascular disease and suffer stroke. If such findings are confirmed, treatments, approaches and economic evaluations of migraine treatment may require major reconsideration.

Epidemiologic studies have recently indicated that 4 percent to 5 percent of the general population suffers from chronic daily migraine headache, a condition characterized by 15 or more headache days per month, and that transformed migraine--the transformation of episodic migraine to the chronic form of the disorder--accounts for approximately half of these patients.

Currently, most physicians do not think of migraine as they do illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, migraine may need to be reexamined from a similar perspective as a chronic illness for which preventive therapy is important to delay or reduce more serious forms or complications.

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This study is published in Value in Health. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Value in Health is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal reporting on evaluations of medical technologies including pharmaceuticals, biologics, devices, procedures, and other health care interventions. It is also a sounding board for the discussion of health policy issues related to health economics and outcomes studies associated with all medical technologies. For more information, please visit www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/vhe

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley's Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit www.wiley-blackwell.com or http://interscience.wiley.com.

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