The impact of headache in Europe: principal results of the Eurolight project

Timothy J. Steiner, Lars Jacob Stovner, Zaza Katsarava, Jose Miguel Lainez, Christian Lampl, Michel Lantéri-Minet, Daiva Rastenyte, Elena Ruiz de la Torre, Cristina Tassorelli, Jessica Barré, Colette Andrée

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: European data, at least from Western Europe, are relatively good on migraine prevalence but less sound for tension-type headache (TTH) and medication-overuse headache (MOH). Evidence on impact of headache disorders is very limited. Eurolight was a data-gathering exercise primarily to inform health policy in the European Union (EU). This manuscript reports personal impact. Methods: The study was cross-sectional with modified cluster sampling. Surveys were conducted by structured questionnaire, including diagnostic questions based on ICHD-II and various measures of impact, and are reported from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom. Different methods of sampling were used in each. The full methodology is described elsewhere. Results: Questionnaires were analysed from 8,271 participants (58% female, mean age 43.4 y). Participation-rates, where calculable, varied from 10.6% to 58.8%. Moderate interest-bias was detected. Unadjusted lifetime prevalence of any headache was 91.3%. Gender-adjusted 1-year prevalences were: any headache 78.6%; migraine 35.3%; TTH 38.2%, headache on ≥15 d/mo 7.2%; probable MOH 3.1%. Personal impact was high, and included ictal symptom burden, interictal burden, cumulative burden and impact on others (partners and children). There was a general gradient of probable MOH > migraine > TTH, and most measures indicated higher impact among females. Lost useful time was substantial: 17.7% of males and 28.0% of females with migraine lost >10% of days; 44.7% of males and 53.7% of females with probable MOH lost >20%. Conclusions: The common headache disorders have very high personal impact in the EU, with important implications for health policy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • Eurolight project
  • Europe
  • Global Campaign against Headache
  • Headache
  • Impact
  • Migraine
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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