(BlackDoctor.org) — Families with at least one person suffering from migraines spend about 70 percent more each year on medical costs than other families, according to a new study.
Most of these costs pile up at the pharmacy counter or in outpatient care, according to Paul Stang, Ph.D., of Galt Associates Inc. and colleagues, writing in the American Journal of Managed Care.
Even family members without migraines have higher medical costs when they live with a migraine sufferer, suggesting that the illness contributes to overall unhealthy stress levels in the household.
“The results suggest that migraine, even under treatment, is associated with a substantial impact on the health care costs for other families individually and as a unit,” Stang says.
The differences in cost remained the same even after taking into account other health conditions that might have affected migraine patients, Stang added.
The study was supported by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, makers of the migraine drug Zomig.
Health care costs also vary depending on whether the migraine sufferers are children or parents, the researchers found. Households where a child was the only migraine sufferer averaged nearly $4,400 more a year in total health care-related costs than non-migraine families with children. Households with an adult migraine sufferer paid about $4,700 more on average each year than non-migraine families.
When both a child and parent were diagnosed with migraines, annual costs were on average almost $6,900 higher than in non-migraine families.