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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2001 Sep;59(3-A):504-11.

Prevalence and costs of headaches for the public health system in a town in the interior of the state of São Paulo.

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Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.


Despite the high prevalence, impact and economic importance of headaches, studies on this subject are rare in Brazil. The aim of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of headaches in the public health system of a town in the interior of the State of São Paulo, as well as to estimate the costs resulting from its management. Data refer to the year of 1998 and were obtained according to the following steps: 1) territorial and demographic characterization of the municipality; 2) characterization of the financial indices and social well-being; 3) budget characteristics of the municipality; 4) evaluation of the structuring of the medical service; 5) determination of the prevalence of headaches at different patient care levels; and 6) calculation of the costs of headaches. Headaches represented 7.9% of all visits at basic health units, 9.7% in the emergency room and 1.1% of hospital admissions. The total costs were R$ 85,131.31 (US$ 70,942.76) corresponding to R$ 7.59 (US$ 6,32) per inhabitant/year. The present study shows the need for epidemiological and economic impact studies, which would provide the basis for the rational use of health funds.

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