worried woman doing finances(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.

Compared with non-migraine families, the spouse of a migraine sufferer had 24 percent higher health care costs, the child of a migraine-suffering parent had 11 percent higher costs and the parent of a migraine-suffering child had 26 percent higher costs.

The number of lost workdays, short-term disability days and worker’s compensation claims were also higher in migraine families

Even among those whose children were the only migraine sufferers, “there were 11 percent more short-term disability days and absenteeism was 35 percent higher than in non-migraine families with children,” Stang says.

The researchers analyzed information on patient diagnoses and costs in a large national database. They compared 73,094 families with at least one member with migraines to a control group of 200,094 families without a migraine sufferer.

Migraine affects about 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the United States, according to the report.

Health Behavior News Service


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