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Novartis study reveals that migraine support in the workspace can significantly decrease the impact of the disease on affected employees

Basel, May 26, 2020 — Novartis announces data from its Migraine Care pilot program which was created in collaboration with patient groups and leading experts in neurology, telemedicine and digital medicine, to provide a complementary, independent, third-party service for all Swiss-based Novartis associates living with migraine to improve their quality of life. These data have been published in the European Journal of Neurology after the 6th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology was held virtually due to COVID-19.


“The study confirms the high burden of people living and working with migraine but also demonstrates that empowering individuals can significantly increase quality of life and productivity”, said Dr. Gantenbein, Head of the Swiss Headache Society. “This further emphasizes the notion that employer-led well-being programs can benefit individuals, companies and society as a whole”.


About Migraine Care

Migraine Care is a pilot program created by Novartis, in collaboration with patient groups and leading experts in neurology, telemedicine and digital medicine, to provide a complementary, independent, third-party service for all Swiss-based Novartis associates living with migraine to improve their quality of life. The program, endorsed by the Swiss Headache Society, aims to raise awareness of migraine in the workplace and provide free coaching to Novartis associates living with migraine. It also aims to empower associates in the management of the disease by leveraging both medical and lifestyle options.


339 Novartis employees registered to the program, out of which 141 consented to their data being analyzed and 79 completed the program at six months. Participants received monthly sessions of individualized telecoaching comprised of educational modules and action plans from a specialized nurse by phone and through a specially developed module on the Migraine Buddy smartphone application. The mean age of participants at baseline was 41.5 years with 70.0% being females. 64.1% of participants had a confirmed diagnosis of migraine. Out of which, 56.8% were not being treated by a physician despite 74.0% having migraine disability assessment (MIDAS) grade ≥2. At the end of six months, participants reported 54.0% decrease in migraine-related disability and a 9.0% increase in the patient activation measure (PAM), a measure which assesses patient knowledge, skill, and confidence for self-management. Loss of productivity through both, absenteism and presenteism, were reduced by more than 50.0% and in addition participants report their private life being significantly less impaired by migraine.


Novartis is exploring opportunities to work with other employers who are interested in supporting their employees and family members living with migraine.


About Migraine

Migraine is a distinct neurological disease1. It involves recurrent attacks of moderate to severe head pain that is typically pulsating, often unilateral and associated with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, sound and odors2. Migraine is associated with personal pain, disability and reduced quality of life, and financial cost to society3. It has a profound and limiting impact on an individual's abilities to carry out everyday tasks; the World Health Organization reported migraine to be one of the top 10 causes of years lived with disability for men and women4. It remains under-recognized and under-treated3,5.



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About Novartis

Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109,000 people of more than 145 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at