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Papers of the Week

2023 Feb

J Manag Care Spec Pharm



Relationships between headache frequency, disability, and disability-related unemployment among adults with migraine.


Shapiro RE, Martin AA, Bhardwaj S, Thomson H, Maculaitis MC, Anderson C, Kymes SM
J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2023 Feb; 29(2):197-209.
PMID: 36705286.


Migraine is the second most common cause of disability worldwide. Understanding the relationship between migraine and employment status is critical for policymakers, as disability-related unemployment is associated with eligibility for private or governmental disability insurance payments and other associated support for those unable to work because of disability. To assess the association between migraine frequency and selfreported employment status and overall disability in a US representative survey. Using data from the 2019 National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS) (Kantar Health), adults in the United States (aged 18-65 years) reporting at least 1 migraine day in the past 30 days were categorized by headache frequency: low-frequency episodic migraine (LFEM) (≤4 days/month), moderate-frequency EM (MFEM) (5-9 days/month), high-frequency EM (HFEM) (10-14 days/month), or chronic migraine (CM) (≥15 days/month). A control group of adults without migraine with similar baseline characteristics was identified by propensity score matching. Disability-related unemployment was defined as participants responding "short-term disability" or "long-term disability" to occupational status on the NHWS. The frequency of short- or long-term disability was then evaluated across headache frequency groups. In addition, participants were asked to assess migraine-related disability via the Migraine Disability questionnaire (MIDAS). A total of 1,962 respondents with LFEM, 987 with MFEM, 554 with HFEM, and 926 with CM were included in this analysis, along with 4,429 matched controls. Headache frequency was associated both with increased MIDAS score and with employment disability ( < 0.001); 12.3% (n = 114 of 926) of participants with CM reported employment disability, as did 4.4% (n = 86 of 1,962) of the LFEM group and 6.9% (n = 306 of 4,429) of matched controls. There was considerable discordance between the proportion of participants classified as disabled via MIDAS vs those reporting employment-related disability. More frequent migraine headaches are associated with a higher likelihood of self-reported short- and long-term employment disability and overall migraine-related disability, suggesting that health and economic policymakers must seek ways to maximize the employment opportunities for people living with migraine that may benefit from novel preventive treatments. Robert E Shapiro is a research consultant for Eli Lilly and Lundbeck. Ashley A Martin and Martine C Maculaitis are employees of Cerner Enviza (formerly Kantar Health), which received payment from Lundbeck to conduct the research. Shiven Bhardwaj was an employee of Lundbeck at the time of study and manuscript development. Heather Thomson and Carlton Anderson are employees of Lundbeck. Steven M Kymes is an employee and stockholder of Lundbeck. Financial support for research conducted and manuscript preparation was provided by Lundbeck.