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Keywords:

  • Burden;
  • epidemiology;
  • migraine;
  • quality of life;
  • Sweden

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The authors have earlier reported a 1-year prevalence of 13.2 ± 1.9% for migraine in Sweden. This is a subsequent extensive postal survey of the burden of disease and attitudes among migraineurs in a sample (n = 423, 23% men and 77% women, aged 18–74 years) randomly recruited from all main regions of the country, representative of adults in the general Swedish population with self-considered migraine. Results are presented only from participants who after analysis of symptoms were found to fulfil the International Headache Society's migraine criteria. In order to assess headache duration open-mindedly, the strict time criterion 4–72 h was deliberately disregarded as an inclusion criterion. Individuals who did not consider themselves to have migraine were excluded. Less than half of the group (45%) had received a diagnosis of migraine from a physician. Accordingly, a large number of individuals that would not have come to attention in a clinic-based study have been included. The mean attack frequency was 1.3 per month, and the number of attacks per year in Swedish adults is approximately 10 million. A minority (27%) of sufferers have a majority (68%) of all attacks. The mean attack duration was 19 h. A considerable number of individuals reported attacks < 4 h (15.8%) or > 72 h (6.4%). Less than half of the individuals recovered completely between the attacks. Despite this, only every fourth (27%) participant was currently consulting a physician (6% regularly; 21% occasionally). Most of the migraineurs reported absence from school or work, a negative influence of migraine on the most important aspects of life, and an interest in testing other treatments for migraine during the last year. Of those (n = 231) migraineurs who had consulted a physician, about 60% were satisfied with information given or treatment offered. This implies, however, that there is still room for improvement in  the management of migraine in Sweden.