Migraine is a neurological disease characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. The pain is generally made worse by physical activity. Migraines are believed to be due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. It is, however, believed to be a neurovascular disorder.
Compared with a slightly higher proportion of 22.7% in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 16.6% of adults 18 or older reported having migraine or other severe headaches in the last 3 months in the 2011 National Health Interview Survey. In contrast, the AMPP study found an overall prevalence of migraine of 11.7% and probable migraine of 4.5%, for a total of 16.2%. Data from National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey/National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey showed that head pain was the fifth leading cause of ED visits overall in the U.S. and accounted for 1.2% of outpatient visits.
The burden of headache was highest in females 18-44, where the 3-month prevalence of migraine or severe headache was 26.1% and head pain was the third leading cause of ED visits. The prevalence and burden of headache was substantial even in the least affected subgroup of males 75 or older, where 4.6% reported experiencing severe headache or migraine in the previous 3 months. Triptans accounted for almost 80% of antimigraine analgesics prescribed at office visits in 2009, nearly half of which were for sumatriptan.