ICYMI – Survey underscores daily burden of migraines

Emma Van Hook   |     March 5, 2018   |   SHARE THIS

A new survey reveals the painful and disruptive reality of migraine for many patients, with many patients living with pain for nearly half of every month. The survey paints a picture of the extensive physical, social and community impact migraines have on patients and those around them.

Researchers at Nielsen conducted an online, qualitative survey with over 1,000 U.S. adults, including 518 people who have been diagnosed with a migraine. The survey also included people who know someone with a migraine, as well as community members who do not know someone with a migraine. 


Often misunderstood, migraine is a disabling neurological disorder that can cause severe, and sometimes prolonged, headaches that are often accompanied by other symptoms, including nausea, sensitivity to light and changes in vision.

Those who do not experience migraines often tend to underestimate how long a migraine lasts and just how painful the migraine headache can be. Survey respondents diagnosed with migraine indicated that their worst migraine was more painful than kidney stones or even childbirth, and that the average migraine lasted 31 hours.

Migraines also have far reaching impacts on a person’s day-to-day life, as the disease manifests itself in unpredictable and disruptive ways. Respondents who have experienced migraines reported significantly reduced productivity at work, less ability to interact with their children, and decreased ability to take care of their family.

Both those who have experienced migraines and those around them expressed a need for new ways to manage this complex disease. 74 percent of respondents who had a family member with migraine agreed that they would like their loved one to seek better care or treatment, and 81 percent of those with migraine wished there was more they could do to manage their disease. 

Biopharmaceutical researchers are working hard to unravel the underlying drivers of migraine and bring a new wave of treatment options to patients. With science moving rapidly, there is real hope for the future.

Emma Van Hook

Emma Van Hook Emma Van Hook is a director of Policy & Research at PhRMA focusing on the promise of the biopharmaceutical pipeline, the value of medicines, the R&D process, and personalized medicine. Emma is a biology nerd at heart and has worked in both bench science and in regulatory affairs, helping to get new medicines through the development and FDA approval processes. In her free time, Emma likes to get outside the Beltway for running and hiking with her family and her dog Blue.

Topics: Research and Development

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