The health and productivity burden of migraines in Australia

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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 rep- resented 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
Number of pages13
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Aug 2020


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

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