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Healthcare utilization and disability of migraine: the Ontario Health Survey


Objective — To measure the prevalence of migraine, associated functional disabilities, use of medications and visits to physicians.

Design — 135,062 migraineurs in Ontario were estimated from the Ontario Health Survey (OHS). The population demographics, use of medications and visits to physicians were compared with these measures in individuals without migraine.

Results — The prevalence of migraine was estimated at 1.4% in Ontario. The migraineurs were heavy users of both prescription and non-prescription drugs (98.0%). They were heavier users of pain relievers than the comparison group (91.2% versus 58.2%, p < 0.0000). According to the two-week disability reports, 11% of them were bedridden for an average of 1.6 days and 9.3% were restricted from normal activities for an average of 2.4 days because of migraine.

Conclusions — Severe migraine headaches may result in a $31 million loss in productivity and $2 million in hospitalization costs. The findings of this study highlight both the medical and financial impact of migraine on the individual and the healthcare systems.



To T, Wu K. Can J Public Health. 1995; 86(3):195-9.

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