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National Headache Foundation Survey Finds Less than a Third of People with Migraine Feel their Disease is Under Control

CHICAGO, June 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, the National Headache Foundation today announced findings from its Perspectives from People with Migraine survey, which highlights experiences of people with migraine, the tradeoffs made to manage their disease with current therapies and the impact of the disease on daily life.

The survey revealed that while two-thirds (65%) of people with migraine currently use triptans as an acute treatment, most seek relief across many treatment categories ranging from prescription drugs to over-the-counter pain killers to holistic or alternative medicine; oftentimes using multiple treatments sequentially to find relief. Despite treating their disease with a variety of therapies, less than a third of responders (29%) report feeling that their migraine is under control. Further, due to side effects such as brain fog, fatigue and sleepiness, on average almost half of the responders between the ages of 18-59 feel anxious (46%) upon taking treatment. In addition, in that same age group, 47% report that treatment side effects have interfered with their ability to go to school or work.

"Migraine disease is so much more than a headache. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted our world, stress and anxiety, which are major triggers for people with migraine, are at an all-time high. We must strive to understand and educate about the impact of this disease on not only physical well-being; but also, emotional and mental health," said Mary Franklin, executive director of National Headache Foundation. "Every person living with migraine has a different experience and we want all to feel confident in their treatment choices; but also know that there are others who understand the real impact of the disease."

Almost all responders felt misunderstood and feared they were a burden to family, friends and colleagues.

  • Nearly all (93%) people agreed that those who don't suffer from migraine don't understand the severity of the disease
  • More than half (54%) report feeling like a burden to family, friends and co-workers because of their disease
  • More than half (53%) say they modified career plans and aspirations due to the impact of migraine

The survey also shed light on the emotional and mental burden of the disease. Over three-quarters (77%) of responders said they were not able to do the things they wanted to because of migraine attacks. Responders reported the following due to a migraine attack at least once a week:

  • 42% were unable to exercise or participate in physical activity
  • 37% feel less productive at work or school
  • 28% feel less able to take care of their children
  • 25% avoid sexual intimacy

The survey was funded by Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. as part of the Demand More for Migraine ( educational initiative.

"Biohaven is committed to raising awareness of the truly debilitating effects of migraine including the physical, mental and emotional burdens," said Vlad Coric, M.D., chief executive officer of Biohaven. "By supporting this research with the NHF, we hope to better understand the tradeoffs people with migraine make every day living with this invisible disease, so we can continue to invest in resources and treatment options that address their unmet needs."  

About Perspectives from People with Migraine Survey
The Perspectives from People with Migraine was a 20-minute, online, quantitative opinion survey conducted by the National Headache Foundation and funded by Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. The survey was fielded in December 2019 through January 2020 and included responses from more than 1000 men and women aged 18-70+ who suffer from migraine, had at least one migraine attack in the month prior to survey participation and have been diagnosed with migraine by a physician for three or more years. A sub-analysis of the outcomes focused on the experiences of adults aged 18 – 59.

About Migraine
Migraine is a debilitating and recurrent disease characterized by attacks lasting four to 72 hours with multiple symptoms, including pulsating headaches of moderate to severe pain intensity that can be associated with nausea or vomiting, and/or sensitivity to sound (phonophobia) and sensitivity to light (photophobia). Nearly 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraine and the World Health Organization classifies migraine as one of the 10 most disabling medical illnesses. There is a significant unmet need for new acute treatments as more than 90 percent of people with migraine are unable to work or function normally during an attack.

About the National Headache Foundation
Founded in 1970, the National Headache Foundation is the oldest and largest foundation for individuals living with migraine disease and headache disorders. The NHF is the premier educational and informational resource for those in the headache community, health care professionals, and the public. The four pillars of the NHF are education, awareness, advocacy, and research. We are informing policymakers, at the national and state levels, and the general public of the need to help patients get access to safe and appropriate care. We are reaching out to employers throughout the US to provide education for their staff and support in their efforts to minimize the cost and impact of chronic headaches. We also work to educate and encourage the 40 million Americans with migraine and chronic headaches to become self-advocates with their healthcare practitioners, insurers, employers, and families.

About Biohaven
Biohaven is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative best-in-class therapies to improve the lives of patients with debilitating neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases. Biohaven's neuroinnovation portfolio includes a broad pipeline of late-stage product candidates across three distinct mechanistic platforms: calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonism for the acute and preventive treatment of migraine; glutamate modulation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinocerebellar ataxia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Alzheimer's disease, and Rett syndrome; and myeloperoxidase (MPO) inhibition for multiple system atrophy. For more information, visit

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SOURCE National Headache Foundation

National Headache Foundation Survey Finds Less than a Third of People with Migraine Feel their Disease is Under Control

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Last Updated: 16-Jun-2020