The Economic Cost of Patients With Migraine Headache Referred to Specialist Clinics

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Objective

To conduct a cost of illness study to estimate the economic impact of referring people with headache to specialists.

Background

Headache is one of the commonest health conditions affecting individuals in society.

Methods

Participants formed a convenience sample and were recruited from specialist headache clinics across London. Self-report data on service use over a 4-month period and lost employment were provided. These data were used to estimate economic costs. Predictors of cost were identified using multivariate analyses.

Results

The mean (standard deviation) service costs for the 4-month period was £857 (£845). The mean total cost (including lost employment) was £6588 (£11,982) with costs of informal care accounting for 74% of this figure. Total costs were on average £1079 higher for a unit increase on the headache impact test scale (P < .001; 95% CI £330 to £1784).

Conclusions

Costs of headache are high, and increase with severity of symptoms. The annual cost to the country for those referred to specialists is estimated at £835 million.

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