Migraines cost the economy £3.3 billion a year: Sufferers take more than 30 million sick days annually to cope with the crippling pain, study finds
- Average migraine sufferer requires up to 33 days off work a year due to the pain
- Experts warns people are most affected ‘at the peak of their careers’
- Sufferers may struggle to hold jobs down and care for their families
- Some 58% of patients spend more than £26 a month on migraine medication
- More than 38 million people in the US and six million in the UK suffer migraines
Migraines cost the UK economy around £3.3 billion a year, new research suggests.
Crippling headaches are responsible for more than 30 million sick days annually, with the average sufferer needing up to 33 days off work a year to cope with their condition, a study found.
Study author Dr Guillaume Leiba, from Novartis, which funded the research, said: ‘Migraines significantly affect people at the peak of their careers, who have families to provide for.
‘These regular attacks represent a serious problem as far as keeping their jobs is concerned’.
More than 38 million people in the US and six million in the UK suffer from migraines.
Migraines cost the UK economy around £3.3 billion a year (stock)
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WHAT HELPS TO PREVENT MIGRAINES?
Being open to new experiences reduces people’s risk of migraines, research suggested in June 2017.
A preference for variation over routine prevents crippling headaches among depression sufferers, a study found.
Yet, neuroticism – a personality trait associated with nervousness and irritability – increases migraine’s risk, the research adds.
Study author Dr Máté Magyar from Semmelweis University in Budapest, said: ‘An open character appears to offer protection from [migraine].
‘Our study results could help to provide a better understanding of the biopsychosocial background of migraine, and help to find novel strategies in the prevention of and interventions for [migraine].’
The researchers analysed the relationship between personality traits, depression and migraines in more than 3,000 sufferers of the mental-health condition.
Depression is associated with an increased risk of migraines.
The participants were ranked according to their openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
How the research was carried out
The first study analysed more than 7,700 people living in France.
Of which 3.8 per cent experience severe migraines at least eight days a month.
The second analysis assessed 700 migraine sufferers who work in Switzerland.
The findings were presented at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Lisbon.
‘Migraines affect people at the peak of their careers’
Results of the French study further suggest 58 per cent of migraine sufferers spend more than £26 (€30) a month on medication, while 43 per cent spend over £44 (€50) on other headache remedies.
Patients’ quality of life is also affected with more than three quarters of migraine sufferers having sleep disorders and not enjoying their time off work.
Migraines cost the French economy €3.8 billion a year, which is around £3.3 billion.
France and the UK have similar population sizes, therefore the study’s findings are thought to also apply to Britain.
The Swiss study found patients are more likely to require migraine medication if their headache is linked to depression or anxiety.
Dr Leiba added: ‘Two-thirds of [migraine sufferers are] women, and the average age of those affected [is] 41, meaning that migraines significantly affect people at the peak of their careers and who have families to provide for.
‘These regular attacks represent a serious problem as far as keeping their jobs is concerned.’
Crippling headaches are responsible for more than 30 million sick days annually (stock)
Once-a-month drug offers hope to millions with severe migraines
This comes after the first migraine-prevention drug was approved by US regulators last month.
Experts claim the injected medication, known as Aimovig, will ‘change the way we treat migraines’. It is unclear if the drug may be available outside of the US.
The once-a-month treatment works by blocking the protein CGRP, which is elevated in migraine sufferers.
Unlike existing treatments that reduce CGRP levels, Aimovig, which is manufactured by the pharma giants Amgen and Novartis, does not cause side effects, such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction and dry mouth.
Previous research suggests migraine drug side effects are often worse than the headaches themselves, with up to 86 percent of patients discontinuing treatment within a year.
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