Depression and anxiety more common in UK migraine patients than their European counterparts

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New survey of 7,500 European migraine patients highlights shared challenges across borders, but UK patients reported the highest rates of depression and anxiety associated with migraine in Europe. 01

A new survey ‘Beyond Migraine: The Real You’ by Teva Pharmaceuticals has provided insights into the devastating personal impact that migraine causes. 1 in 7 adults are affected by migraine and women are three times more likely to be affected than men. 03 Teva’s survey has shown migraine has an impact on almost every aspect of their lives and shows the significant burden it puts on the family and children of a person with migraine.

“I’m not surprised by these findings, as migraine is not just extremely painful and debilitating but also a disease that affects many aspects of a person’s life,” said Una Farrell from The Migraine Trust. “This difficulty is then worsened by the lack of awareness and understanding of migraine, which people living with migraine experience on a day to day basis. This needs to change - and these findings underscore the urgency with which this change needs to take place.”

Impact on family life

One of the most revealing results from the survey was the effect that migraine has on a person’s family and particularly the lives of their children.

  • 52% of parents with migraine said that having migraine had an impact their ability to provide unconditional parental support to their children 02
  • 35% of parents with migraine said that their condition has impacted the general happiness of their children02
  • 73% of patients said that their partner is most impacted by the disease 02

Among parents, 45% said that their ability to parent their children has been impacted by their migraine. 02 The way in which migraine can shape daily life for those close to the individual dealing with migraine has led to many people with the condition to hide an attack from a family member. 43% of respondents have hidden their migraine from their friends, family or employers. 02

A life of isolation and exhaustion, particularly for women with migraine

The survey data also showed that migraine damaged people’s personal and social lives, with 70% of those surveyed claiming it has prevented them from going out, 37% saying the disease impacted their ability to exercise, and 34% stating it had impacted their sex life. 02

The insights from more than a thousand UK migraine patients are broadly similar to those reported by patients in other European countries, with some worrying differences. People with migraine in the UK reported feeling more frustrated (61% UK vs. 51% Europe), depressed (46% UK vs. 39% Europe), anxious (36% UK vs. 22% Europe), and guilty (21% UK vs. 14% Europe) about their migraine than those in other European countries. 01

The UK survey data also give an insight into the disproportionate impact migraine has on the female population. When asked how they felt their migraines limit their potential, women were more likely to feel guilty than their male counterparts (23% vs. 14%), misunderstood (22% vs. 16%), sad (36% vs. 22%) and frustrated (63% vs. 53%). In total, 68% of women report that their overall health and wellbeing is impacted by their migraine, compared to 57% of men.

Migraine patients feel their condition is not taken seriously

90% of UK patients living with migraine feel that their condition is not being taken seriously by government or society. 01 Nearly half of all patients had to wait at least 3 years before receiving a diagnosis (42%) and a further 32% had to wait an additional 3 years at least to get a specific treatment. 02    

“The impact of migraine on patients and their families is huge, and migraine patients deserve better support and help in dealing with this incredibly serious condition,” said Kim Innes, General Manager of Teva UK & Ireland. "The results of the survey demonstrate there is still a long way to go in developing the right tools and support networks for people living with migraine. These insights from migraine patients are really powerful, and show the challenges ahead of us in making sure that migraine is taken seriously as a condition and that the appropriate treatments are made easily available for patients who need them.”

Original Teva Ref: COB-GB-NP-00012
Date of preparation: October 2020


  1. Back to contents.

    Teva UK Data on File 216, October 2020

  2. Back to contents.

    Teva UK Data on File 214, October 2020

  3. Back to contents.

    Facts and Figures. Migraine Trust [Last accessed: October 2020]

Date of preparation: August 2021
Reference: COB-GB-NP-00038

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