Economics of Headache

  • Francesco Saverio Mennini
  • Lara Gitto
  • Andrea Marcellusi
  • Fumihiko Sakai
  • Ichiro Arakawa
Reference work entry


On the World Health Organization’s ranking of causes of disability, headache disorders are among the ten most disabling conditions, and among the five most disabling for women.

Hence, the impact of headache disorders is a problem of enormous proportions, both for individual and society. Health economic literature tried to assess the effects on individuals by examining the socioeconomic burden of headache disorders and identifying direct and indirect cost related to headache.

Migraine has a considerable impact on functional capacity, resulting in disrupted work and social activities. Indirect costs associated with reduced productivity represent a substantial proportion of the total cost of migraine as well. It is not surprising that chronic headache is one of modern society’s most costly illnesses.

Headache is well far behind other pathologies, where there is a greater knowledge of the economic aspects of both the pathology-related costs and the likely benefits resulting from different therapeutic approaches.

Notwithstanding the disease costing problems, it is important for the economic analysis to gain ground since there is a growing need to keep account of the available resources and the results attainable in the health care policies, from the central to the peripheral levels, where the evaluation tools referred to above prove even more expedient.

Given the social relevance of migraine, it is important to increase the knowledge related to the economic consequences of prevention through an increase of availability of health service.

From the analysis of prevalence, incidence, morbidity, and consequence of the state of health caused by headache and by looking at the Asian experience as well, it seems important to warn the scientific community and policy makers to implement specific “observatories.” For this reason, it is useful to increase economic evaluation studies to be able to estimate economic and financial costs of headache and its prevention (as in The Global Campaign to Reduce the Burden of Headache Worldwide – WHO).


Indirect Cost Migraine Attack Headache Disorder Primary Care Doctor Headache Treatment 
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Copyright information

© Lifting The Burden 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Saverio Mennini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lara Gitto
    • 1
    • 3
  • Andrea Marcellusi
    • 1
  • Fumihiko Sakai
    • 4
  • Ichiro Arakawa
    • 5
  1. 1.CEIS Sanità (Centre for Health Economics and Management – CHEM)University Tor VergataRomeItaly
  2. 2.Faculty of StatisticsSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Faculty of EconomicsUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  4. 4.International Headache Center, ShinyurigaokaKitasato University HospitalAsao KawasakiJapan
  5. 5.Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Teikyo Heisei UniversityChibaJapan

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