Accessibility Statement

Destigmatizing Migraine with a Goal to Improve Patient Outcomes

June 9, 2022    Posted by: Eli Lilly and Company


Migraine is the second leading cause of disability globally,1 impacting one in six adults worldwide.2 Even though migraine is common, people with the condition may feel the need to put on a brave face and push through the pain due to stigma from coworkers, friends and family.

This year at the American Headache Society (AHS)’s 64th Annual Scientific Meeting (June 9-12, 2022), Lilly presented results from its OVERCOME (U.S.) study discussing migraine-related stigma and its influence on disability, worry between attacks and quality of life.

About the OVERCOME Study

To further understand the unmet needs of people with migraine, Lilly initiated OVERCOME. The study’s goal is to assess the burden of migraine experienced by people living with the disease, identify barriers to the appropriate treatment of migraine, and evaluate how the introduction of novel treatment options may influence migraine care.

OVERCOME began enrolling people with migraine in 2018 and conducted web-based patient surveys for up to two years following enrollment. To date, OVERCOME results have shown that while the use of novel calcitonin gene-related peptide monoclonal antibodies (CGRP mAbs) as a preventive treatment may improve migraine, many people hesitate to seek migraine care. They have a concern their disease won’t be taken seriously and are not taking a recommended prescription medication.

This year’s analysis used a 12-item novel questionnaire to evaluate the frequency of migraine-related stigma experienced by nearly 60,000 people diagnosed with migraine. Participants were then evaluated on their personal experience with that stigma and its influence on disability, worry between attacks and quality of life.

Migraine-Related Stigma’s Relationship with Disability, Worry Between Attacks and Quality of Life

Lilly’s latest OVERCOME study found approximately one in three people diagnosed with migraine (31.7%) experienced migraine-related stigma often or very often. Specifically, the two most common forms of migraine-related stigma were reported as others believing that migraine is not burdensome (29.1%) and that migraine is used for secondary gain (e.g., missing work or obligations) (14.8%).3 Results also showed that across monthly headache days, migraine-related stigma was associated with increased disability and worry between attacks as well as decreased quality of life, as measured by Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS), Migraine Interictal Burden Scale-4 (MIBS-4) score and Migraine-Specific Quality of Life Role-Function Restrictive (MSQ-RFR) assessment, respectively.3 For context, MIDAS assesses the impact of headache attacks on daily activities in school, work, at home or socially across three months, MIBS-4 score measures migraine burden in the time span between migraine attacks across four weeks with a score >4 indicating severe worry between attacks, and MSQ-RFR measures functional impact of migraine on social and work-related activities across four weeks.

View the OVERCOME abstract that will be presented on Saturday, June 11 at AHS here.

Addressing the Unmet Needs of People with Migraine to Improve Health Outcomes

As shown from the results of OVERCOME, migraine-related stigma is negatively impacting people with migraine. Lilly understands the importance of spotlighting the unmet needs people with migraine face. We're committed to supporting the migraine community to ensure they receive the help they need to combat this condition.

Recognizing migraine as a debilitating neurologic disease and having interventions that decrease migraine-related stigma may improve patient-centered outcomes for those with migraine. By addressing migraine-related stigma among the general public, we hope to positively impact health outcomes for people diagnosed with migraine.


1Steiner TJ, Stovner LJ, Jensen R, Uluduz D, Katsarava Z. Migraine remains second among the world’s causes of disability, and first among young women. Findings from GBD2019. J Headache Pain. 2020;21:137.

2Burch R, Rizzoli P, Loder E. The prevalence and impact of migraine and severe headache in the United States: Updated age, sex, and socioeconomic-specific estimates from government health surveys. Headache 2021;61:60-68.

3Shapiro R. et al, Migraine-Related Stigma and Its Influence on Disability, Interictal Burden, and Migraine Specific Quality of Life: Results of the OVERCOME (US) Study. Poster to be presented at: 64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society (AHS), 2022; June 11, 2021.