Socioeconomic impact of migraine in Italy: Results of a national survey
Background: Literature data indicate that migraine has a stronger impact on both healthcare consumption and quality of life (QoL) in women.
Objectives: The objective of this article is to evaluate out-of-pocket (OoP) costs, productivity losses and cost of informal care of migraine in Italy, with a special focus on the detection of potential differences between male and female subjects.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted. Data were collected via a web-based survey platform, which included a socioeconomic questionnaire (five sections: clinical history; occupational status; informal assistance; visits, exams and treatments; and loss of productivity) and two questionnaires on QoL (EuroQol 5D 5L and Migraine-Specific Questionnaire, MSQ).
Results: Six hundred and seven participants took part in the survey (average age of 42 years; female 70%). The duration of the attack (4-72 hours) was significantly much longer in women than in men (71% vs. 49%; p < 0.001). Seventy per cent of the sample reported to be employed. Lower income was associated with women (p < 0.001). Men received more informal assistance days than women (5.2 vs. 3.9 days; p = 0.007). The quarterly cost including OoP costs, informal assistance and lost productivity averaged €1,088 and was higher for men compared to women (€1,515 vs. €908; p < 0.001). The MSQ reported a significantly worse QoL for women.
Conclusion: The results seemed to prove that migraine is a gender disease. Moreover, a potentially unequal access to informal assistance and healthcare resources not covered by the Italian National Health Service is highlighted for women because of their lower average income and purchasing power compared to men.
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