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Seng EK, Fenton BT, Wang K, Lipton RB, Ney J, Damush T, Grinberg AS, Skanderson M, Sico JJ. Frequency, Demographics, Comorbidities, and Health Care Utilization by Veterans With Migraine: A VA Nationwide Cohort Study. Neurology. 2022 Sep 13.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the relative frequency, demographics, comorbidities, and healthcare utilization of veterans who receive migraine care at the Veteran''s Health Administration (VHA) and to evaluate differences by gender. METHODS: This study extracted data from VHA administrative sources. Veterans diagnosed with migraine by a healthcare provider between fiscal year 2008-2019 were included. Demographics and military exposures were extracted at cohort entry. Comorbidities were extracted within 18 months of the first migraine diagnosis. Health care utilization and headache comorbidities were extracted across the study period. Differences between men and women were evaluated using chi-square tests and student t-tests. RESULTS: More than half a million (n = 567,121) veterans were diagnosed with migraine during the 12-year study period, accounting for 5.3% of the 10.8 million veterans served in the VHA; in the most recent year of the study period (2019), the annual incidence and one-year period prevalence of medically diagnosed migraine was 2.7% and 13.0% for women, and 0.7% and 2.5% for men. In the total cohort diagnosed with migraine, 27.8% were women and 72.2% men. Among those with diagnosed migraine, a higher proportion of men vs. women also had a TBI diagnosis (3.9% vs. 1.1%; ). A higher proportion of women vs. men reported military sexual trauma (35.5% vs. 3.5%; ). Participants with diagnosed migraine had an average of 1.44 (SD 1.73) annual encounters for headache. Primary care was the most common headache care setting (88.1%); almost one-fifth of veterans with diagnosed migraine sought care in the ED at least once during the study period. Common comorbidities were overweight/obesity (80.3%), non-headache pain disorders (61.7%), and mental health disorders (48.8%). CONCLUSIONS: Migraine is commonly treated in the VHA setting, but likely under ascertained. Most people treated for migraine in the VHA are men. Pain comorbidities and psychiatric disorders are common. Future research should identify methods to improve diagnosis and treatment and to reduce use of the emergency department.