About Migraine

Migraine is a condition that takes a tremendous toll on quality of life, economic productivity and the health care system. Yet this staggeringly common and debilitating condition has been poorly studied, and surprisingly few therapies have been developed to treat it given its prevalence and impact on the world’s population.

Migraine Resources:

Migraine Research Foundation
American Migraine Foundation
The Migraine Trust

Facts About Migraine:

A Productivity Killer
  • Migraine costs the United States more than $20 billion each year. Costs are attributed to direct medical expenses (e.g. doctor visits, medications) and indirect expenses (e.g. missed work, lost productivity). (American Migraine Foundation)
  • American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to migraine. (American Migraine Foundation)
  • An estimated 25 million days are lost from work or school because of migraine (Steiner et al, Cephalalgia, 2003)
  • Just over a third (34.3%) of migraine sufferers face difficulties or discrimination at work because of their condition (The Migraine Trust, 2004)
Under-Funded, Under-Treated, Under-Studied
  • Migraine remains undiagnosed and undertreated in at least 50% of patients, and less than 50% of migraine patients consult a physician (Pavone, Banfi, Vaiani & Panconesi, Cephalalgia, September 2007)
  • Prophylactic medications reduce headache frequency by 1/2 in only about 40% of patients who take these medications. (American Migraine Foundation)
  • Migraine is the least publicly funded of all neurological illnesses relative to its economic impact (Shapiro & Goadsby, Cephalalgia, September 2007)
  • In 2013 the NIH granted only $19 million for migraine research. Diabetes received $1.007 billion in 2013. Asthma received $207 million in 2013. The amount of funding that the NIH spent on migraine research in 2007 is equal to only $0.36 per person with migraine. Diabetes received $49.38 per person with diabetes. Asthma received $12.25 per person with asthma. (American Migraine Foundation)
A Common Disease
  • “Headache disorders, including migraine and tension-type headache, are among the most prevalent disorders of mankind.” (“Atlas of Headache Disorders and Resources in the World 2011,” WHO, Lifting the Burden, 2011)
  • One-half to three-quarters of the world’s adults aged 18 to 65 have experienced a headache or Migraine in the past year. (“Atlas of Headache Disorders and Resources in the World 2011,” WHO, Lifting the Burden, 2011)
  • Thirty-six million Americans, about 12% of the population, suffer from migraine headaches. (American Migraine Foundation)
  • One in four households in America has a member with migraine. (American Migraine Foundation)
  • In the UK, there are an estimated 190,000 migraine attacks every day (Steiner et al, Cephalalgia, 2003)
  • Over half (54%) of migraineurs experience one or more attacks per month, and 13% claim one or more attacks per week (Steiner et al, Cephalalgia, 2003)
  • Children can get migraine attacks too.  Attacks can start at any age, but they usually start in children who are in their early to mid teens (Goadsby et al, New England Journal of Medicine, 2002)
  • A survey of neurologists found that up to one-third of all patients consulted because of headache – more than for any other complaint (WHO, Factsheet 277, March 2004)
  • Migraine is 3 times more common in women than men. Migraine affects 30% of women over a lifetime. (American Migraine Foundation)
Disabling Condition
  • Among adults of all ages, migraine is one of the top 20 causes of disability expressed as years of healthy life lost to disability (The World Health Report 2001, WHO)
  • Severe migraine attacks are classified by the World Health Organization as among the most disabling illnesses, comparable to dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis (Shapiro & Goadsby, Cephalalgia, September 2007)
  • Depression is three times more common in people with migraine or severe headaches than in healthy individuals (WHO, Factsheet 277, March 2004)
Chronic Migraine
  • Between 24.8% and 63.5% of chronic migraine patients fall into the most severe category of disability, with very poor quality of life (Buse DC 2013)
  • Despite the fact that chronic migraine patients are only 15% of all migraineurs, in a 2013 Decision Resources survey, 38% of migraine patients of primary care providers and 44% of neurologist migraine patients were chronic migraineurs.
  • Patients with chronic migraine had higher cardiovascular and respiratory risk, were 40% more likely to have heart disease and angina, were 70% more likely to have a history of stroke and far more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders such as major depression and anxiety compared to the general population. (Lipton RB 2011).