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My Migraine Voice -survey reveals the emotional and social burden of migraine in Finland

Migraine is a disabling headache disorder that places a significant burden both for the patients and the society. The impact of migraine extends beyond the physical pain of a migraine attack and can have substantial effects on multiple aspects of life, including day-to-day functioning and quality of life, including physical, emotional and social aspects such as family, work and social relationships.

A global My Migraine Voice survey was conducted in 31 countries among 11,266 adults who suffered from ≥4 monthly migraine days (MMD). The aim of the present retrospective-observational study was to focus on domains assessing the burden of migraine among Finnish My Migraine Voice survey respondents. In order to further understand the burden of migraine in a Finnish sub-cohort, disease severity was assessed as monthly migraine day (MMD) frequency. The study was conducted in collaboration with Novartis and Tampere University.

The included Finnish participants (n = 338) were stratified by mean MMDs into 4 ≤MMD < 8 (n = 133), 8 ≤ MMD < 15 (n = 139) and MMD ≥ 15 (n = 66) subgroups. Comorbidities, migraine-related emotional burden and impact on daily living and work productivity and activity impairment (WPAI) were assessed. Subgroup analysis on healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) due to migraine was assessed by visits to healthcare practitioners (HCPs) during the past 6 months and by hospitalizations and emergency room (ER) visits during the past 12 months.

Mean age of the responders was 44 years, which of 93% were women and 67% employed. Chronic migraine (CM, MMD ≥ 15) was reported in 19.5% of the respondents. The negative impact on daily functioning and emotional burden increased significantly by migraine frequency. Mean number of comorbidities was 2.4, and mean number of HCP visits during the previous 6 months was 5.9. Increase in migraine frequency and comorbidities was associated with higher HCRU. Majority (88 %) of the respondents reported negative impact on working life and 52% experienced overall work productivity impairment. Over previous month, the mean number of missed working days for all respondents was 2.8 days of which 54% were paid sick leave days. Meanwhile, in CM group the mean number of missed working days was 6.0 days of which only 30% paid sick leave days. Both absenteeism and presenteeism were higher in the CM group.

The present study demonstrates that increase in migraine frequency is associated with greater productivity loss and use of healthcare resources as well as the effects conveyed to personal and societal level. These results suggest that there is a need to improve quality of care in migraine and improve migraine management related issues in both healthcare and society in Finland.

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My Migraine Voice survey: disease impact on healthcare resource utilization, personal and working life in Finland, Sumelahti M-J, Sumanen M, Sumanen MS, Tuominen S, Vikkula J, Honkala SM, Rosqvist S and Korolainen MA. The Journal of Headache and Pain (2020) DOI: 10.1186/s10194-020-01185-4.

Find more RWE study summaries here.

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