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Headache. 2009 Jan;49(1):79-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2008.01263.x.

Prevalence and burden of headache and migraine in Germany.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Virchow Klinikum, Charité, Berlin.



To determine prevalence and burden of headache and migraine in the general population in Germany including patterns of healthcare and medication use.


Telephone interviews were conducted on a representative sample of the general population in Germany aged >or=18 years (n = 7341). Migraine was diagnosed according to the International Headache Society criteria.


One-year prevalence was: headache 60.2%, migraine 10.6%, nonmigrainous severe headache 24.7% (women 66.6%, 15.6%, and 27.1%; men 53.0%, 5.3%, and 22.2%). Approximately 60% of headache sufferers reported severe headaches, 30% of which were migrainous. Migraineurs reported more often frequent headaches, disability, use of analgesics, and medical consultation than individuals with nonmigrainous severe headaches. Only 42% of migraineurs had consulted a physician and the majority relied exclusively on over-the-counter medication.


Migraine accounts for a great part of the healthcare impact of headaches in Germany. However, the majority of migraineurs do not seek medical care and may not be optimally treated.

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