The patient reported burden and stigma of migraine in Finland

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Title: The patient reported burden and stigma of migraine in Finland
Author: Eriksson, Veronica
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Pharmacy
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Lääketutkimuksen, farmaseuttisen tuotekehityksen ja lääkitysturvallisuuden maisteriohjelma
Master’s Programme in Pharmaceutical Research, Development and Safety
Magisterprogrammet i farmaceutisk forskning, utveckling och säkerhet
Specialisation: Sosiaalifarmasia
Social pharmacy
Abstract: Migraine was ranked as the second largest cause of disability in 2016 in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. People with migraine have a greater disability and a lower health-related quality of life than those of the general population. Many migraine patients experience functional and emotional impairment due to their disease. Migraine can limit their daily activities and impact their private, professional and social life. Migraine affects the patient also in between the attacks and can impact their education, career and their family and loved ones. Comorbid diseases and failed treatment lines add to the burden of migraine. Furthermore, migraine also imposes an economic burden. Stigma is described as the hidden burden of disease. Chronic migraine patients have been found to have higher stigma than episodic migraine patients. Even though migraine is one of the most common disabling headache disorders, it is still both under-recognised, under-diagnosed and under-treated. The objectives of this study were to determine the extent of the burden and the stigma of migraine in adult Finnish migraine patients. This study aimed to produce comprehensive and current information about migraine and its severity in Finland, highlighting the burden it poses on the migraine patients as well as on society. Migraine is most prevalent among the working aged population, which increases the societal burden of the disease. This study was conducted as a cross-sectional electronic survey amongst adult Finnish migraine patients. The participants were contacted through the Finnish Migraine Patient Advocacy Group. The questionnaire consisted of the already existing and validated Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) Questionnaire and of measures developed by the author. The final data consisted of 608 responses. Of all respondents with 8 or more headache days a month, over 90% were categorised in the severe disability group (MIDAS grade IV), thus having similar disability to those with 15 or more headache days a month (i.e. respondents with probable chronic migraine). The proportion of respondents with severe disability (MIDAS grade IV) was greater in the present study (65.0%) than in a study conducted in Finland in 2000 (47%), indicating that migraine disability in Finland might have become more severe during the past two decades. The mean level of headache pain in the present study was 6.2 (on a scale of 0-10) and pain was the aspect that most respondents viewed as the worst aspect of migraine. This highlights the importance of proper pain management in migraine care. Many of the respondents were also at risk for medication overuse, which highlights the importance of monitoring medication use and informing the patients about possible risks. Stress was reported as the most common migraine trigger, and reducing stress at the workplace was also reported as the most important way of how migraine could better be managed at the workplace. Almost half (44.4%) of all respondents felt stigmatised due to their migraine. Reasons for this stigma and suggested solutions on how to reduce/manage the stigma were quite similar. The ignorance of others was the most reported reason for their migraine stigma, and increasing awareness and correct information about migraine was the most reported way of reducing the stigma. Many of the respondents had faced, due to their migraine, belittlement at work, from family and friend and from healthcare professionals. Facing belittlement from healthcare professionals was reported to have happened often by 11.5% and sometimes by 34.7% of all respondents. Of all respondents, 55.6% worried often and 29.8% worried sometimes about the onset of the next migraine attack. The majority of the respondents had severe disability based on their MIDAS grades. Many other aspect of the burden were reported as well, inculding stigma, reported by almost half of the respondents. Further and future studies need to be conducted to get an even better understanding of the burden and stigma of migraine experienced by adult Finnish migraine patients. This includes further and more intricate quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data from this study, as´well as studies with new perspectives based on the results found in this study.
Subject: migraine
burden of disease
The Migraine Disability Assessment Questionnaire
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