The Effects of Migraine Headaches to Productivity

The Effects of Migraine Headaches to Productivity
The Effects of Migraine Headaches to Productivity

MigraineInformer.com - The migraine headache is a chronic disease, which has not yet been well understood, and as a result a lot of people are suffering. In many cases there is no proper diagnosis and no proper treatment or preventive treatment for is provided for migraine headaches.

It is estimated that up to 12% of the population suffer from migraine headaches. The disease is detected and diagnosed correctly in less than 50% of patients.

The disease most often affects people between the ages of 30 and 49. These are the ages at which people are very productive. The consequence of this is that not only patients and their families are suffering from migraine headaches but also this creates significant costs for their employers.

In the United States, the annual cost to businesses or employers by direct and indirect health costs due to migraine headaches, is almost 29 billion dollars annually in conjunction with the loss of productivity. The data available substantiate that it is in the interest of employers to recognize and take steps to address the migraine to improve productivity.

In addition it appears that the options for tackling the problem must not only be limited to the treatment of migraine headache crisis but also to preventive treatment to reduce the frequency of the crisis.

The American Academy of Neurology presented ways to better address the problem of migraine headaches in the workplace, to improve the quality of life of the patients and simultaneously increasing productivity, which clearly benefits all.

1. How to detect migraine headaches in the workplace

Employers gave importance to the detection of migraine, effectively helping to identify employees who suffer from migraine but unfortunately they did not know it because a proper diagnosis was not made.

In a pioneering effort, researchers developed an online tool that was used by employees to report their symptoms. They did the work with short, easy and effective way.

The results showed that it is a reliable method that can substantially help in tackling the problem. The online tool could identify correctly the existence of migraine in 90% of workers who were already known to be suffering from migraine. Additionally 30% of workers in which there was no diagnosis of migraine found that they had the migraine headache symptoms and were set for proper diagnosis of the disease.

2. Impact and burden of migraine headache for businesses and productivity

The researchers tried to assess the total financial burden including the productivity loss caused by migraine headaches in businesses.

The results were interesting and showed that more than 50% of employees with migraine, said they had moderate to severe disability for 3 months prior to migraine headaches crises and this resulted to significant loss of working days due to the absence from their work.

The costs for businesses resulted from the direct costs of medical treatment, loss of revenue due to the absence of people from work and reduced productivity because when they were present at work they had experience migraine headache symptoms.

The direct medical costs are estimated at $ 200,410 for every 1,000 patients with migraine. Indirect costs include losses from workers with migraine that stayed at work but had reduced productivity, amounted to $ 404,660 per 1,000 workers. The total losses of the employers in the United States because of migraine headaches (direct and indirect costs) were estimated at 28.7 billion U.S. dollars annually.

3. How to prevent migraine headache episodes

Medication can be used for the prevention of migraine. Of the patients suffering from migraine, more than 70% said they had frequent migraine headache crises that can cause them inability to work. These workers were good candidates for preventive treatment of migraine but only 15% received a daily treatment.

In addition from the people suffering from migraine, only 48% took medication after prescription to treat the disease. 79% were taking drugs that do not require a prescription.

The most common medication for the treatment of migraine headaches is Topamax. Topamax (topiramate) in a dose of 100 mg daily has been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the United States for the prevention of migraine headache in adults. Taking this medication, according to recent analysis, is likely to help increase workplace productivity by reducing the hours of absence or incapacity due to migraine.

The Topamax is not appropriate to treat the acute phase of migraine headaches, but to prevent it and is especially suited for adults.

Physicians and patients should be aware that the drug could have serious side effects such as metabolic acidosis (acidification of the blood due to a reduction of bicarbonate in the blood) by increasing the rate of breathing with fast breathing and fatigue. Severe symptoms of metabolic acidosis are abnormalities of heart rhythm or changes in the level of consciousness.

Chronic metabolic acidosis, which remains without treatment increases the risk for stones in the kidneys or bone disease. Other serious risks of the drug are glaucoma (increased eye pressure inherent risk of loss of vision), decreased sweating, increased body temperature, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion and concentration difficulties. The most frequent symptoms caused by topiramate include formicary feet and hands, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea, weight loss and deterioration of taste.

The topiramate is a useful drug for the prevention of migraine headaches. Should be taken only after medical advice and monitoring. Improves the lives of patients and appears to help increase productivity and to palliate the economic costs caused by migraine for businesses.

Patients taking topiramate should tell their doctor if they are taking other medications and to inform them immediately if a vision problem with haze or pain or any discomfort or symptoms.

Migraine headaches are a disease that can have both social and economic effects for people suffering from it but also for business, productivity and the economy in general.