Impact of migraine on health care utilization and expenses in obese adults: A US population-based study

Jun Wu, Mary L. Davis-Ajami, Zhiqiang K. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Migraine prevalence increases in people with obesity, and obesity may contribute to migraine chronicity. Yet, few studies examine the effect of comorbid migraine on health care utilization and expenses in obese US adults. This study aimed to identify risk factors for migraine and compare the use of health care services and expenses between migraineurs and non-migraineurs in obese US adults. Subjects and methods: This 7-year retrospective study used longitudinal panel data from 2006 to 2013 from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to identify obese adults reporting migraines. Outcomes compared in migraineurs vs non-migraineurs were as follows: annualized per-person medical care, prescription drug, and total health expenses. Results: In 23,596 obese adults, 4.7% reported migraine (n=1,025) approximating 3 million civilian noninstitutionalized US individuals. Logistic regression showed that the following sociodemographic characteristics increased migraine risk: age (18–45 years), females, White race, poor perceived health status, and greater Charlson comorbidity index. Migraineurs showed US$1,401 (P=0.007), US$813 (P<0.001), and US$2,213 (P=0.001) greater annual medical, prescription drug, and total health expenses than non-migraineurs, respectively. After adjustment, total health expenses increased by 31.6% in migraineurs vs non-migraineurs. Conclusion: In this US adult obese population, migraineurs showed greater total health care utilization and expenses than non-migraineurs. Treatment plans that address risk factors associated with migraine and comorbidities may help reduce the utilization of health care services and costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Health care expenses
  • Migraine
  • Obesity
  • Utilization of health services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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