• migraine;
  • epidemiology;
  • therapeutic management

Objective.—To evaluate the proportion of migraineurs who are self-aware of their disease in France, to determine the factors (disability, quality of life, psychiatric comorbidities, and medical consultation) that may promote self-awareness of migraine, and to assess the influence of these factors on migraine attacks.

Background.—New recommendations for migraine diagnosis and medical management were released in 2003 by the French medicoeconomic evaluation service (ANAES). In addition, the revised classification of headache disorders recently issued by the International Headache Society includes probable migraine as a form of migraine. However, strict and probable migraine now appear to be part of the same spectrum of disease.

Methods.—Subjects with migraine (strict or probable) according to the revised classification were identified by a postal questionnaire from a large representative sample of the French adult population. Migraine-related disability was assessed using the MIDAS questionnaire, anxiety and depression by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADS), and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) by the 8 concepts of the Short-Form 12 (SF-12) questionnaire. Migraine management was assessed according to the use of recommended or nonrecommended treatments, and treatment efficacy according to the set of 4 questions designed by the ANAES.

Results.—Of the 10,532 subjects interviewed, 1,179 subjects (21.3%) were identified as migraineurs. Sixty percent of all migraine subjects were not self-aware that they had migraine. Medical consultation, duration of migraine history, severe intensity of attacks, impact on daily living, and female gender promoted self-awareness of migraine. On the other hand, HRQoL and anxiety and depression scores were not different between subjects self-aware or not self-aware of migraine. Only 20% of all migraine subjects were medically followed-up. Quality of the first medical consultation appears determinant for continued consulting. Subjects self-aware of migraine more frequently used recommended acute treatments of migraine, which proved more effective than nonrecommended treatments as assessed according to the ANAES set of questions.

Conclusions.—Migraine medical diagnosis and follow-up remain low in France. Careful medical consultation is a prime factor for migraine subject self-awareness of migraine, continued consultation, and use of recommended medications for the treatment of migraine attacks.