Afro american man

Migraine - Life with Migraine

4 min

My migraine voice

The burden of migraine is present worldwide yet the impact of the disease can often be overlooked. To determine the real-world burden and improve the management of patients, all aspects of the disease need to be assessed, from the frequency and length of attacks, to the severity of symptoms and the rate of medication failure; this information can be collected from patient experiences. Watch the short clip below to learn about the burden of migraine worldwide as reported by the My Migraine Voice global survey.

Want to find out more? For more information on the impact of migraine on patients and to hear Professor Ashina discuss the clinical burden of migraine visit the migraine knowledge hub


My Migraine Voice was a global survey of the burden of migraine. People suffering from at least 4 migraine days a month were recruited between September 2017 and February 2018 across 31 countries in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region.1

Among a total of 11,266 people taking part, the mean age was 39 years and the mean time affected by migraine was 11.6 years, 75% were women, 63% had children, and 58% were employed (full or part time).1

On average, participants were affected by migraine for 9.8 days a month; almost one in five people had episodes lasting longer than 3 days.1

In addition to a headache lasting at least 4 hours, other symptoms commonly reported included severe pain on one side of the head, throbbing pain, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and nausea.1 On a scale of 0 to 10, the severity of pain experienced during the last month by respondents was 7.4 on average.1

90% of the participants had taken preventive medication at some point, and 60% of the participants had experienced at least 2 preventive medication failures.1

Overall, 76% were taking acute medications for migraine (prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines or both), rising to 81% among people with at least 2 preventive medication failures.1

Almost half of the participants were limited in completing daily activities by their migraine, affecting a total of 10.5 days per month on average.1

For 64% of participants overall and 70% of those with at least 2 prior treatment failures, migraine affected their private life, including missing important events (such as birthdays or weddings), avoiding making commitments, effect on sex life, and feeling guilty about the impact migraine has on their family life.1

Social life is also affected, with each respondent describing on average three negative impacts, such as not being able to participate in activities or hobbies, social events, and sports activities or exercise.1

70% of participants overall and 75% of those with at least 2 preventive medication failures reported that migraine has affected their professional life, for example because of inability to concentrate on work, missing too many days of work, and lack of understanding among colleagues about their condition.1

Fewer than one in five participants reported receiving any support from their employer and 9% (rising to 12% of those with at least 2 preventive medication failures) reported receiving a disability-related allowance because of their migraine.1

Despite all of the negative aspects, 57% of participants reported at least one positive aspect of living with migraine, such as gaining resilience and strength.1

My Migraine Voice was the largest survey to date of the impact of migraine on people experiencing at least 4 migraine days a month. The results highlight the high unmet needs in many areas of these individuals’ lives, especially those with a history of previous preventive medication failure. This increased understanding of the impact of migraine on sufferers will help healthcare professionals improve management and outcomes for these patients in the future.1

Transcript approved under zinc code: HQ/FRE/18/0091

  1. Martelletti P, Schwedt TJ, Lanteri-Minet M, et al. My Migraine Voice survey: a global study of disease burden among individuals with migraine for whom preventative treatments have failed. J Headache Pain 2018;19:115