Economic burden of migraine in Singapore
Objective: Despite the high prevalence and disabling nature of migraine, studies evaluating its economic burden in Singapore remain scant. This study aims to quantify the per capita and aggregate economic cost of episodic migraine (EM; ≤14 monthly headache days) without aura among full-time employees in Singapore. Methods: We administered a cross-sectional online survey to full-time employees in Singapore who met the International Classification of Headache Disorders (third edition, 2018) criteria for EM without aura. Eligible participants were classified by the frequency of monthly migraine days (MMDs): lower end episodic migraine (LEM; ≤3 MMDs) and upper end episodic migraine (UEM; 4–14 MMDs). The survey captured per capita healthcare resource utilization and lost work productivity (absenteeism and presenteeism) for each subgroup. Healthcare costs were obtained by multiplying unit costs by healthcare utilization. Finally, per capita (patient) costs of each subgroup were then imputed and multiplied by prevalence data to quantify the aggregate burden of migraine in Singapore. Results: Of the 606 participants who completed the survey, 81% experienced ≤3 MMDs. Total annual per capita costs were SGD4925 (USD 3620; 95% confidence interval (CI): SGD 4438–5411) and SGD14,476 (USD 10,639; 95% CI: SGD 11,908–17,045) for the LEM and UEM subgroup, respectively. Healthcare costs on average accounted for 17.6% of per capita costs, of which was driven primarily by diagnostic tests (33.6%), followed by consultations (17.1%), medications (16.7%), alternative medications (16.6%) and hospitalizations (14.8%). Lost productivity accounted for 82.4% of costs, chiefly attributable to absenteeism in the LEM group (38.2%), followed by presenteeism in the UEM group (26.0%), absenteeism in the UEM group (18.8%) and presenteeism in the LEM group (17.1%). The total cost to Singapore for EM in 2018 was approximately SGD 1 billion (USD 0.75 billion; SGD 1.00 = USD 0.74). Conclusion: Overall, EM imposes a substantial economic burden on society in Singapore. Total migraine cost per capita is greater in the UEM (4–14 MMDs) as compared to the LEM subgroup. Majority of the overall costs result from missed workdays and lost work productivity. Future research should determine the extent to which optimized migraine treatments could improve productivity, and by extension, mitigate the staggering costs of this disorder.
Ong, JJY; Patnaik, D; Chan, YC; Simon, O; Finkelstein, EA
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