Last edited 11/2020 and last reviewed 07/2021

  • the life-time prevalence of migraine has been stated as (1):
      • 8% in men
      • 25% in women
      • prevalence of migraine in the previous year was 6% in men and 15% in women
  • 80% patients have their first attack before the age of 30
  • prevalence of migraine increases until age 40 and then declines
  • 15% of females with migraine only have attacks around the time of menstruation
  • the prevalence of common migraine (without aura) is three times that of classical migraine (with aura) (1)

The socioeconomic cost of migraine runs to billions of pounds in the UK (2), due to:

  • lost working days
  • reduced productivity at work

Since the disorder tends to remit with older age, an onset of migraine after the age of 50 years should arouse suspicion of a secondary headache disorder (4)


  1. Rasmussen BK et al.Epidemiology of headache in a general population-a prevalence study. J Clin Epidemiol. 1991;44(11):1147-57.
  2. Cull RE et al. The economic cost of migraine. British Journal of Medical Economics 1992; 2:102-15.
  3. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 1998; 36(6):41-4.
  4. Ashina M. Migraine. N Engl J Med 2020;383:1866-76. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1915327