The Health and Productivity Burden of Migraines in Australia

Susan Tu, Danny Liew, Zanfina Ademi, Alice J. Owen, Ella Zomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to quantify the health and productivity burden of migraines in Australia, measured by quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), productivity-adjusted life years (PALYs, a novel measure of productivity), and associated health-care and broader economic costs. Methods: A Markov state-transition model was constructed to simulate follow-up of Australians aged 20-64 years over the next 10 years. The model was first run using current prevalence estimates of migraine. It was then rerun assuming that people with migraine hypothetically did not have the condition. Differences in outcomes between the 2 model simulations represented the health and productivity burden attributable to migraine. All data inputs were obtained from published sources. Gross domestic product (GDP) per equivalent full-time worker in Australia was used to reflect the cost of each PALY (AU$177,092). Future costs and outcomes were discounted by 5% annually. Results: Currently, 1,274,319 million (8.5%) Australians aged 20-64 years have migraine. Over the next 10 years, migraine was predicted to lead to a loss of 2,577,783 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2,054,980 to 3,000,784) QALYs among this cohort (2.02 per person and 2.43% of total QALYs), and AU$1.67 (95% CI $1.16 to $2.37) billion in health-care costs (AU$1313 per person, 95% CI $914 to $1862). There would also be 384,740 (95% CI 299,102 to 479,803) PALYs lost (0.30 per person and 0.53% of total PALYs), resulting in AU$68.13 (95% CI $44.42 to $98.25) billion of lost GDP (AU$53,467 per person, 95% CI $34,855 to $77,102). Conclusion: Migraines impose a substantial health and economic burden on Australians of working age. Funding interventions that reduce the prevalence of migraines and/or its effects are likely to provide sound return on investment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2291-2303
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • migraine
  • burden
  • productivity
  • quality of life
  • cost

Cite this