Understanding the burden of migraine

To better understand - and ultimately address – the gaps in migraine care, Lilly set out to gain a contemporary view of Europe’s migraine landscape by conducting the OVERCOME (Observational survey of the Epidemiology, Treatment and Care Of Migraine) (EU) study. OVERCOME (EU) [1], includes more than 20,000 people with migraine in Germany and Spain and aims to increase the migraine community and other key decision-makers’ understanding about the burden of the disease, the barriers to appropriate treatment and what influences patient outcomes.

Initial results of OVERCOME (EU) highlight key challenges in the migraine care. Just over half of respondents have received an accurate diagnosis [1].Collectively, the scientific community needs to discuss how to address the unmet needs and support optimal care for people
with migraine.

Migraine is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world [2] and despite its wide reach and substantial negative impact on individuals and society, migraine has been dismissed for far too long as 'just a headache’. Even with recent improvement in recognition of the burden migraine presents, no solution can be effective if patients are unable to access care. Too often people with migraine are left to navigate a challenging care pathway, where optimal care is unavailable, fragmented, or difficult to access. [3]

Making positive changes

At Lilly, we share the European Migraine and Headache Alliance’s (EMHA) belief that the chance of a life free from the burden of migraine should be the collective ambition of all policy makers, patients and healthcare professionals[4] and that multi-stakeholder dialogue between these parties is the key to making this a reality. We support EMHA’s call for the launch of an ambitious European Migraine Action Plan to overcome the burden of migraine on individuals and society. Through this, the EU could lead on paving a path for people to live a better life through:

  • Increasing public understanding and awareness of migraine

  • Enhancing education on migraine for all healthcare professionals

  • Ensuring appropriate funding and access for high quality migraine care

  • Implementing efficient care pathways to address patient needs in a timely way

  • Improving work related outcomes for people with migraine

As we continue to advance the migraine understanding with studies such as OVERCOME (EU), we will continue to amplify the voices of those living with migraine to decision-makers and champion policies that support optimal disease management, including appropriate diagnosis, treatment and access to care. 

We’re looking toward the future of migraine management with optimism. We will continue to tackle unmet needs and work to improve care pathways – to reduce the personal, societal, and economic impact of this disease. We call on stakeholders from across the migraine community to partner with us to change the future for patients.

People living with migraine deserve respect. They have Lilly’s respect. Do they have yours?


[1] Evers S, et al. Clinical Characteristics, Treatment Satisfaction and Barriers to Treatment for Patients with Migraine: Results from OVERCOME (EU), the European Observational Survey of
the Epidemiology, Treatment and Care of Migraine
[Paper presentation]. International Headache Congress (IHC). Virtual. 2021, September 8-12.

[2] Agosti, R. Migraine Burden of Disease: From the Patient's Experience to a Socio-Economic
Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2018;58:17-32.

[3] European Brain Coucil (EBC), VOT: Headache: The patient journey. 2017. Available at: https://www.braincouncil.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/VOT-Poster-Headache.pdf Last accessed: January 2022.

[4] The European Migraine & Headache Alliance. Migraine in the EU: Bringing women out of the shadows. 2021. Available at: https://www.emhalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/Women-M-Policy-Paper-FINAL23MARCH.pdf. Last accessed: January 2022.