man suffering from a migraine headache

Migraine can cause patients profound disability1

Migraine is ranked as one of the top 10 leading causes of years lived with disability worldwide2

Migraine is a long-term disease that can cause patients profound disability, impairing their ability to carry out everyday activities like attending family events and going to work, and can also be a burden on family members.1

Studies have found that

more than 1 in 3 adults

with migraine experience 4 or more headache days each month3

Migraine is a distinct neurological disease that is associated with changes in brain biology and function.4 This debilitating disease is characterized by moderate to severe headache that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, phonophobia, and photophobia.5 In the United States alone, the overall prevalence of migraine in adults is approximately 12%.6

Migraine is predominantly seen in women and men between the ages of 30 and 39—the prime, most active years of life. It is 2 to 3 times more common in women than in men.7-10

In clinical practice, patients with migraine are evaluated based on headache characteristics and frequency of headache days, and may receive a diagnosis of either episodic migraine (EM) or chronic migraine (CM).5

Migraine typically includes 3 distinct phases, all of considerable duration10

01. Premonitory
(also known as pre-migraine)

  • First symptoms or signs of migraine, such as changes in activity, fatigue, food cravings, repetitive yawning, stiff neck, and phonophobia10
  • Duration: ≤ 72 hours10
  • About 1/3 of migraine patients also experience aura, a migraine phase characterized by visual or sensory disturbances lasting 5 to 60 minutes. Aura can overlap with the premonitory phase, and generally precedes migraine attack10,12

02. Migraine Attack

  • Migraine attack has at least two of the following four characteristics5:
    • Unilateral location
    • Pulsating quality
    • Moderate or severe pain intensity
    • Aggravation by or causing avoidance of routine physical activity (eg, walking or climbing stairs)
  • During the migraine attack phase at least one of the following occurs5:
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • Photophobia and phonophobia
  • Duration: 4 to 72 hours5

03. Postdrome
(also known as migraine hangover)

  • Symptoms that arise or persist after the migraine attack has resolved, such as fatigue, weakness, and cognitive symptoms13
  • Duration: ≤ 24 hours10

Collectively, these can be referred to as migraine-affected days

Although the migraine attack can typically last 4 to 72 hours, the physical limitations of migraine-affected days can impact patients for up to 7 days in just one cycle.1,10,12 The days in between the migraine attack are often overshadowed and underestimated–while patients may not feel the full pain of migraine, they’re not feeling 100% recovered either, limiting their participation in everyday activities such as work, school, housework, family life, and social activities.1,10

Given this notable frequency, it is important for physicians and patients to consider the full impact of migraine-affected days and the need for effective migraine management.1,10

Learn more about migraine and the science behind it.

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Understanding the
Pathophysiology of Migraine


1. Buse DC, Rupnow MFT, Lipton RB. Assessing and managing all aspects of migraine: migraine attacks, migraine-related functional impairment, common comorbidities, and quality of life. Mayo Clin Proc. 2009;84(5):422-435.  2. GBD 2016 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet. 2017;390(10100):1211-1259. 3. Blumenfeld AM, Varon SF, Wilcox TK, et al. Disability, HRQoL and resource use among chronic and episodic migraineurs: results from the International Burden of Migraine Study (IBMS). Cephalalgia. 2011;31(3):301-315. 4. Goadsby PJ, Lipton RB, Ferrari MD. Migraine — current understanding and treatment. N Engl J Med. 2002;346(4):257-270. 5. Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia. 2013;33(9):629-808. 6. Hepp Z, Bloudek LM, Varon SF. Systematic review of migraine prophylaxis adherence and persistence. J Manag Care Pharm. 2014;20(1):22-33. 7. Gasparini CF, Sutherland HG, Griffiths LR. Studies on the pathophysiology and genetic basis of migraine. Curr Genomics. 2013;14(5):300-315. 8. Lipton RB, Bigal ME, Diamond M, Freitag F, Reed ML, Stewart WF; for AMPP Advisory Group. Migraine prevalence, disease burden, and the need for preventive therapy. Neurology. 2007;68(5):343-349. 9. Smitherman TA, Burch R, Sheikh H, Loder E. The prevalence, impact, and treatment of migraine and severe headaches in the United States: a review of statistics from national surveillance studies. Headache. 2013;53(3):427-436. 10. Goadsby PJ, Holland PR, Martins-Oliveira M, Hoffmann J, Schankin C, Akerman S. Pathophysiology of migraine: a disorder of sensory processing. Physiol Rev. 2017;97(2):553-622. 11. Russo AF. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP): a new target for migraine. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2015;55:533-552. 12. D’Amico D, Tepper SJ. Prophylaxis of migraine: general principles and patient acceptance. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2008;4(6):1155-1167. 13. Charles A. The evolution of a migraine attack — a review of recent evidence. Headache. 2013;53(2):413-419.