Review Article The Burden of Migraine to Society


, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 667-676

First online:

The Economic Burden of Migraine to Society

  • Michel D. FerrariAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre

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The financial burden of migraine on society comprises direct costs, associated with medical care, and indirect costs, caused by absence from work and reduced productivity.

Recent studies have revealed that direct costs are generally relatively low in Europe, but are much higher in North America, probably because of increased use of emergency room and specialist consultations for the treatment of migraine. Most individuals who experience migraine headaches take medication (over-thecounter, prescription-only or a combination of both) for their condition; in Europe and North America, most patients who experience migraines have consulted a physician at some time because of their condition.

In general, the estimated indirect costs of migraine are substantial and are much higher than estimates of direct costs. On average, work losses related to reduced productivity are higher than those related to work absence. These data demonstrate the importance of the societal impact of migraine and illustrate the need for improved strategies to target migraine treatment.