• headache;
  • migraine;
  • prevalence;
  • healthcare;
  • treatment;
  • epidemiology

Objective.— To determine prevalence and burden of headache and migraine in the general population in Germany including patterns of healthcare and medication use.

Methods.— Telephone interviews were conducted on a representative sample of the general population in Germany aged ≥18 years (n = 7341). Migraine was diagnosed according to the International Headache Society criteria.

Results.— One-year prevalence was: headache 60.2%, migraine 10.6%, nonmigrainous severe headache 24.7% (women 66.6%, 15.6%, and 27.1%; men 53.0%, 5.3%, and 22.2%). Approximately 60% of headache sufferers reported severe headaches, 30% of which were migrainous. Migraineurs reported more often frequent headaches, disability, use of analgesics, and medical consultation than individuals with nonmigrainous severe headaches. Only 42% of migraineurs had consulted a physician and the majority relied exclusively on over-the-counter medication.

Conclusion.— Migraine accounts for a great part of the healthcare impact of headaches in Germany. However, the majority of migraineurs do not seek medical care and may not be optimally treated.