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J Headache Pain. 2019 Feb 12;20(1):13. doi: 10.1186/s10194-019-0964-5.

Burden of migraine in Finland: health care resource use, sick-leaves and comorbidities in occupational health care.

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Novartis Finland Oy, Espoo, Finland.
Terveystalo Biobank Finland, Humalistonkatu 7B, 20100, Turku, Finland.
Medaffcon Oy, Espoo, Finland.
Novartis AB, Kista, Sweden.
Terveystalo Biobank Finland, Humalistonkatu 7B, 20100, Turku, Finland.



The highest prevalence of migraine is detected among people who are of working age. The aim of this study was to assess the burden of migraine in an occupational health care setting using real world data collected as a part of routine clinical practice.


This retrospective register study included migraineurs using occupational health care at the private health care provider Terveystalo. An age and gender matched control population was established for comparison. Electronic medical records were assessed for overall and migraine related health care visits, sick-leaves and comorbidities. Stratification to acute and prophylactic treatment groups along with prophylactic treatment lines was based on prescriptions.


Among the 369,383 individuals in the study cohort, 7.4% women and 2.1% men were identified having a diagnosis of migraine. Prophylactic medication was prescribed to 13% of migraine patients and exclusively acute medication to 37%. Although migraine related visits and sick-leave days were significantly lower than overall visits or sick-leave days, both increased by prophylactic treatment line. The number of visits rose from 13.8 to 26.2 and sick-leave days from 16.8 to 30.4 per patient-year, in those without prophylaxis vs. ≥3 prophylactic treatments. Moreover, migraine patients had 1.7-fold increase in visits and 1.8-fold increase in sick leave days on average per patient-year, when compared to the control population. Depression and anxiety were 1.8-fold more common among patients with migraine, and the frequency also increase by treatment line.


Migraine burden increased by each failed treatment line and was associated with increased comorbidity. In addition, migraine patients had significantly higher extent of visits and sick-leave days as well as extent of comorbidities when compared to their age- and gender-matched counterparts.


Absenteeism; Comorbidities; Disease burden; Migraine; Prophylactic treatment; Treatment lines

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