The results of a study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain suggest that children with migraine cause significant costs to the health care system.

“Health care costs of migraine constitute a major issue in health economics. Several publications analyzed health care costs for adult migraine patients, based on questionnaires or secondary (health insurance) data. Although migraine often starts already in primary school age, data on migraine-related costs in children is scarce,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers used claims data from a large German health insurer (BARMER) to assess annual health care costs of 2,597 children between the ages of 6 and 11 years old who were diagnosed with migraine in 2017, and then compared these data to a control group of 306,926 children from ages 6 to 11 years without headache diagnosis between 2013 and 2017. The association of migraine and costs was modeled using linear regression while adjusting for sex, age, and comorbidities.

According to the results, children with migraine caused considerably higher annual per capita health care costs than children without a headache diagnosis (migraine group, €1,018; control group, €618), with excess costs directly related to migraine amounting to €115. The researchers noted the remaining excess costs were related to comorbidities, which were more frequent in the migraine group. Moreover, the study showed that mental and behavioral disorders constituted the most expensive comorbidity, accounting for €105 of the €400 annual excess costs in the migraine group.

The researchers concluded that “6- to 11-year-old children with a migraine diagnosis cause significant direct and comorbidity related excess costs in the German health care system.”



Keywords: Children, Claims data, Headache, Health care costs, Migraine