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Migraine Prevalence, Treatment and Impact: The Canadian Women and Migraine Study

  • Lara J. Cooke (a1) and Werner J. Becker (a1)

Abstract

Background:

The prevalence of migraine headache varies somewhat across geographic regions. The last Canadian population-based study of migraine was in 1994. We report the findings of the Canadian Women and Migraine Survey. In addition to reporting migraine prevalence in Canadian women, the survey identified current consultation and treatment practices of women with migraine, and the psychological burden of migraine.

Methods:

The survey was conducted with a population-based sample of 1210 women using standard telephone research methods. Headache diagnoses were based on the International Headache Society (IHS) Classification.

Results:

Calculated prevalence of migraine headache was 26%. Only 51% of women with migraine had consulted a physician about their headaches. Women with migraines rely on over-the-counter medications and non-specific prescription medications. Less than 10% of women with migraine use triptans/dihydroergotamine for primary treatment. Ninety seven percent of women with migraine reported at least one psychosocial impact resulting from migraines.

Conclusions:

The prevalence of migraine in Canadian women appears static, and is again shown to be slightly higher than that reported in the United States. As in other epidemiologic studies, many women with migraine do not seek medical help for their headaches and perhaps as a result, few are using migraine-specific medications to treat their headaches. The impact of migraine on Canadian women is substantial with almost all women with migraine reporting adverse psychosocial effects of migraines on their lives.

RÉSUMÉ: Contexte:

La prévalence de la migraine varie selon les régions. La dernière étude canadienne de population sur la migraine date de 1994. Nous rapportons les observations de la Canadian Women and Migraine Survey. Cette enquète a identifié entre autres les habitudes de consultation et de traitement actuels des femmes atteintes de migraine et a évalué le fardeau psychologique de la migraine.

Méthodes:

Cette enquète a été effectuée chez un échantillon de 1210 femmes provenant de la population générale, au moyen de méthodes standards de recherche téléphonique. Les diagnostics de céphalée étaient basés sur la classification de laSociété internationale de la céphalée.

Résultats:

La prévalence de la migraine était de 26%. Seulement 51% des femmes atteintes de migraine avaient consulté un médecin au sujet de leurs céphalées. Les femmes atteintes de migraine ont recours à des médicaments sans ordonnance et à des médicaments sous prescription qui ne sont pas spécifiques de la migraine. Moins de 10% des femmes atteintes de migraine utilisaient des triptans/de la dihydroergotamine comme traitement primaire. Quatre-vingt-dix-sept pour cent des femmes atteintes de migraine ont rapporté au moins un impact psychosocial de leurs migraines.

Conclusions:

La prévalence de la migraine chez les femmes canadiennes semble stable et nous démontrons encore une fois qu’elle est légèrement plus élevée que celle rapportée aux États-Unis. Plusieurs femmes atteintes de migraine ne consultent pas un médecin pour leurs céphalées, comme on l’a d’ailleurs observé dans d’autres études épidémiologiques, ce qui explique sans doute que peu utilisent des médicaments spécifiques de la migraine pour traiter leurs céphalées. L’impact de la migraine chez les femmes canadiennes est substantiel, presque toutes les femmes atteintes de migraine ayant rapporté des effets psychosociaux négatifs des migraines dans leur vie.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Department of Clinical Neurosciences, 12th Floor, Foothills Medical Center, 1403-29th St NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 2T9, Canada.

References

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Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
  • ISSN: 0317-1671
  • EISSN: 2057-0155
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-neurological-sciences
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