Secular Changes in Health Care Utilization and Work Absence for Migraine and Tension-type Headache: A Population Based Study

  • A. C. Lyngberg
  • B. K. Rasmussen
  • T. Jørgensen
  • R. Jensen


Objective: To assess changes in consultation rates, medication use and work absences due to migraine and tension-type headache (TTH) in Denmark over a 12-year period. Methods: Surveys of the general population in 1989 and 2001. Medical doctors conducted all headache diagnostic interviews based on ICDH-I and II. The participation rate was 76% (740) in 1989 and 74% (711) in 2001. Headache status was categorized as pure migraine, pure frequent TTH (frequent episodic or chronic TTH), coexisting migraine and frequent TTH, and healthy subjects (no primary headache or only infrequent TTH). Results: Headache-related consultation rates (OR=1.6 (1.1–2.2)), especially specialist consultations (OR=3.6 (2.3–5.6)), increased for all headache groups. Use of prescription medication because of headache increased moderately (OR=2.1 (1.1–3.9)) while the use of prophylactic medication was stable (OR=1.1 (0.3–4.0)). Both headache-related (OR=1.1 (0.7–1.7)) and overall (OR=0.9 (0.7–1.2)) absence rates were largely unchanged. Headache-related absence rates were higher for subjects with both headache types (OR= 7.5 (4.3–13.1)) or with pure migraine (OR=3.6 (2.0–6.6)) than for subjects with frequent TTH alone. Triptans users had higher migraine headache frequency and tended to have higher absence rates than non-users. Overall absence rates were higher for subjects with both headache types (OR=2.3 (1.3–4.0)) or with frequent TTH (OR=1.9 (1.4–2.7)) than for healthy subjects. Pure migraine was not associated with higher overall absence rates (OR=1.0 (0.6–1.6)). Conclusion: Despite an increase in headache consultation rates and in use of prescription medication and triptans, no improvement in work absence rates was observed. Consultations, medication use, and absence rates were highest for individuals with both migraine and frequent TTH.


Epidemiologic studies Health care surveys Migraine Tension headache 



International Classification and Diagnostic Criteria of Headache Disorders


tension-type headache


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. C. Lyngberg
    • 1
  • B. K. Rasmussen
    • 2
  • T. Jørgensen
    • 3
  • R. Jensen
    • 4
  1. 1.Research Centre for Prevention and HealthCopenhagen University Hospital, Sundhedsfaglig AfdelingCopenhagen County, København KDenmark
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyHilleroed HospitalHilleroedDenmark
  3. 3.Research Centre for Prevention and HealthCopenhagen CountryDenmark
  4. 4.Danish Headache Centre, Department of NeurologyCopenhagen University HospitalDenmark

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