The FINANCIAL -- Basel, June 27, 2018 - Novartis and the European Migraine and Headache Alliance announced initial findings from the largest global migraine patient study to date, involving over 11,000 people from 31 countries.
Migraine is a neurological disease which can vary in severity with symptoms ranging from head pain, nausea, vomiting to sensitivity to light. The My Migraine Voice study included people who had at least four migraine days per month with nearly 90% having tried at least one preventive treatment. The findings, presented at the 60th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society (AHS) in San Francisco, reveal that migraine cuts work productivity by half. On average, 60% of employed respondents missed almost a full working week (4.6 days) due to migraine in the last month.
Additionally, the My Migraine Voice study examined the impact of migraine on overall work impairment, including reduced productivity while at work (presenteeism) and work time missed due to migraine (absenteeism) using the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI) questions. Those who had worked in the last week reported that their overall work productivity was cut by over half (53% reduction), with this figure rising to 56% for those with two or more preventive treatment failures.
"Migraine is often dismissed as just a bad headache. These results shed light on an invisible, yet debilitating disease," said Elena Ruiz de la Torre, Executive Director and Immediate Past President of European Migraine and Headache Alliance. "Despite living with such an incapacitating condition, people living with migraine strive to be very productive but need better relief from symptoms, and support in the workplace to ensure they can achieve their full potential. The EMHA is involved in a number of initiatives that are committed to this cause."
Despite the devastating impact of migraine, employed respondents shared that although the majority of their employers (63%) knew about their migraine, only 18% offered support. Further, many said they feel judged, stigmatized or misunderstood for taking days off, illustrating the need for awareness and support in the workplace. To help combat this and empower associates living with migraine to better manage their disease, Novartis Switzerland has launched a pilot program which includes, among other services, free coaching and access to an exclusive version of the Migraine Buddy© platform, developed and owned by Healint. Novartis is also exploring opportunities to work with other employers who are interested in supporting their associates living with migraine.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the participants who took the time to share their experiences with us. At Novartis, it is our mission to actively listen to people around the world to address their needs," said Shreeram Aradhye, Chief Medical Officer and Global Head Medical Affairs, Novartis Pharmaceuticals. "The findings from the My Migraine Voice study clearly illustrate the need for more effective treatments and a holistic management approach for people living with migraine. We are committed to providing new preventive therapies and inventive solutions, including education, telecoaching and apps, to help people with migraine overcome the challenges they may face in their lives and at work."
Migraine often occurs during peak productive years, between the ages of 35 and 45 and often results in temporary disability during attacks. Affected people can be incapacitated by the symptoms which can last for days. Migraine is costly to society with the overall costs estimated to range between 18-27 billion across Europe and about $20 billion in the US.
Further results on the physical and economic burden of migraine will be released at upcoming medical meetings, and the findings from the study are being prepared for submission to peer-reviewed journals.