• Cost of illness;
  • health care access;
  • health economics;
  • migraine

A national control-matched survey was conducted in France to evaluate the access of migraineurs to health care. A validated IHS criteria-based diagnostic procedure for screening was conducted in adults drawn from a sample of 6,000 house holds. A group of 650 subjects fulfilling the IHS criteria for migraine were matched by sex, age and activity status with a group of non-headache, non-migraine controls. Response rates were 87% and 82% for the migraineurs and the controls, respectively. The comparability of the groups was demonstrated by the absence of statistical differences between either respondents versus non-respondents or migraineurs versus controls for sex, age and occupation. The 3-month prevalence of migraine was estimated at 13% (95% CI: 12–14). The health care consumption of migraineurs was not higher than that of the controls. Migraineurs rarely consult for headaches and seem to content themselves with their routine analgesic treatment. They believe, however, that improvement in their condition is possible and discuss this with their physicians. This ambivalent attitude mainly reflects a fatalistic outlet which may constitute the major obstacle of an improved management of migraine.