From The Journal: Direct and Indirect Costs of Migraine

New research provides a contemporary estimate of the true cost of migraine

Migraine exerts a high economic burden, and the cost isn’t limited to those living with migraine. The disease commonly affects people between the ages of 18 and 55, disrupting what should be the most productive years of a person’s life with bills and other expenses. Due to the frequently disabling nature of migraine, there is an immense need to keep literature on its true cost updated. A study recently published in Headache provides us with our most recent estimate.

The study, titled Direct and Indirect Healthcare Resource Utilization and Costs among Migraine Patients in the United State by Machaon Bonafede PhD, MPH, Sandhya Sapra, PhD, Neel Shah, PhD, Stewart Tepper, MD, Katherine Cappell, PhD, and Pooja Desai, PhD, found that patients with migraine had a total annual mean cost that was $8,924 higher than demographically similar individuals. This includes the direct cost of outpatient services and medications as well as inpatient services and ER visits and indirect costs, like absenteeism, short-term disability and long-term disability.

Direct healthcare costs accounted for 74% of the total annual mean, amounting to roughly around $6,575 per patient. Indirect costs accounted for the lesser portion, resulting from the average of 8.9 more missed days of work that patients with migraine take due to disease-related needs. These estimates were gathered by observing patients with migraine as identified by the Truven Health Market Scan Research Databases. Those patients were matched at a ratio of 1:1 to a group of patients without migraine based on their demographic data and index date. Direct and indirect costs were assessed throughout a 12 month long follow-up period.

Having an accurate estimate of migraine’s true cost is a crucial tool in advocacy efforts for increased research funding. The primary funder of migraine research, the National Institute of Health, provides a budget of $15 to 20 million a year.  The updated estimate provided by this study suggests that the current burden of migraine likely exceeds $28 billion, making current funding just a small fraction of what is truly needed. These findings will be fundamental in convincing policymakers to allocate the funds needed to successfully treat this disease.

The American Headache Society is committed to keeping its members up to date on the most innovative and meaningful advancements in the realm of headache medicine. One of many initiatives to support that mission is our publication of Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, published ten times per year, which highlights the latest findings in the realm of headache medicine research. Our “From the Journal” series offers a preview of some of the groundbreaking work detailed in Headache. Enjoy access to the full catalog of content plus a print subscription included with an American Headache Society Membership. Click here to become a member today.

  1. Bonafede, M., Sapra, S., Shah, N., Tepper, S., Cappell, K. and Desai, P. (2018), Direct and Indirect Healthcare Resource Utilization and Costs Among Migraine Patients in the United States. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. doi:10.1111/head.13275B

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