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Depression and Migraine in Older Adults


October 25, 2018

A large Swedish study published in 2002 showed that women aged 60-74 years were more likely to continue to experience migraine if they had also had major depression in the past. People who have had depression at any time in their lives are more likely to continue to have migraine attacks in older age.

Anxiety and depression are commonly experienced by patients experiencing migraine, suggests data reported by Healint, the developer of the Migraine Buddy migraine tracking app.

“Anxiety and depressive moods are often considered as triggers of a migraine attack for people who live with this complex condition. Healint’s unique real-world evidence suggests, however, that anxiety and depression may result from migraine, not the other way around,” said Francois Cadiou, founder and chief executive officer of Healint, in a company press release announcing the findings.

Patient-reported data collected on the Migraine Buddy platform in April 2018 showed that among a sample of 43,189 people in the United States who experienced migraine, about 43% experienced anxiety and/or depression.

Anxiety was more common than depression, with 37% reporting anxiety. About 20% of app users reported depression.

Both anxiety and depression increased with the number of days per month migraines were experienced, according to Healint. Some 34% of respondents with less than 4 migraine days experienced anxiety or depression. In comparison, half the respondents with 15 or more days of migraine per month reported anxiety or depression.

The findings are an extension of a study on the impact of migraine on work productivity presented at the Fourth Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in June 2018.

—Amanda Del Signore

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