Objective It is uncertain whether migraine prevalence has increased in modern society. The aim of this study was to assess any change in migraine prevalence over an 8-year period among the adult population in Denmark.
Design Prospective longitudinal population-based study.
Setting 30 000 twin individuals were invited to participate in two cross-sectional questionnaire surveys containing validated questions to diagnose migraine in 1994 and 2002. The twins are representative of the Danish population with regard to migraine and other somatic diseases.
Participants The 1994 cohort comprised 28 571 twin individuals aged 12–41 years and the 2002 cohort 31 865 twin individuals aged 20–71 years.
Outcome measures Sex-, age- and subtype-specific incidence and lifetime prevalence as well as 1-year prevalence of migraine.
Results 1-year prevalence in 2002 was 12.3% for migraine, 4.1% for migraine with aura and 8.2% for migraine without aura. Lifetime prevalence of migraine was 16.1% in 1994 (aged 12–41 years) and 25.2% in 2002 (aged 20–71 years). Lifetime prevalence of migraine for age 20–41 was increased from 1994 to 2002 (18.5% vs 24.5%) by 32.2% (95% CI 27.0% to 37.3%; p<0.001). The difference was primarily seen in the population older than 32 years. The increase was especially evident in migraine with aura (5.6% vs 9.4%, p<0.001) but also a significant increase in migraine without aura was found (13.0% vs 15.1%, p<0.001). Eight-year period incidence rate of migraine was 0.141 corresponding to an average annual incidence rate of 17.6 per 1000 person-years.
Conclusions Lifetime prevalence of migraine in Denmark increased substantially from 1994 to 2002. Part of the increase may be due to increased medical consultation resulting in increased rate of physician diagnosis or awareness due to previously participation in the 1994 survey. It is pertinent to study the environmental causes of the increase and to implement preventive measures.
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To cite: Le H, Tfelt-Hansen P, Skytthe A, et al. Increase in self-reported migraine prevalence in the Danish adult population: a prospective longitudinal population-based study. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000962. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000962
Contributors All authors had full access to all the data (including statistical reports and tables) in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. HL and JO accept full responsibility for this work and act as the guarantors for the study. HL: (1) conception and design and analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the manuscript; (3) final approval of the version to be published. PT-H: (1) conception and design and analysis and interpretation of data; (2) revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published. AS: (1) acquisition of data; (2) revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published. KOK: (1) conception and design and acquisition of data; (2) revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published. JO: (1) conception and design and analysis and interpretation of data; (2) revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published.
Funding The project was funded by the Department of Neurology Research Fund, Glostrup Hospital. The funding bodies had no role in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the article for publication.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was a registry study based solely on questionnaires and did not require any approval from the ethics committee according to national regulations.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.