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Albers, Lucia; Straube, Andreas; Landgraf, Mirjam N.; Filippopulos, Filipp; Heinen, Florian; Kries, Rüdiger von (December 2015): Migraine and tension type headache in adolescents at grammar school in Germany - burden of disease and health care utilization. In: The Journal of Headache and Pain, Vol. 16, 534
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Background Tension-type headache and migraine are among the most prevalent chronic disorders in children/adolescents. Data on health care utilization for headache in this age group, however, are sparse. Methods In 1399 grammar school students (aged 12–19 years) with headache in the last six months in Germany a) the burden of disease for headache (mean intensity, mean frequency in the last three months and PedMIDAS means), b) medical care utilization defined by proportion of students consulting a physician in the last 12 months and/or taking analgetic drugs in the last three months by headache types (migraine and tension-type headache) and by burden of disease were assessed. Results Primary headache substantially impaired daily living activities in adolescents which was mainly related to migraine. Medical care utilization and drug use, however, was low (consulting a physician: 12.0 %, 95 %-CI = [10.3-13.8]; taking analgetic drugs: 29.9 %, 95 %-CI = [27.5-32.4]) - even among students with severe headache (physician consultation: <35 %; taking analgetic drugs: <63 %). Two thirds of students with any headache and 40 % of those with migraine had neither seen a physician nor used analgetic drugs because of their headache in the preceding 12 months. Conclusions Adolescents with headache might too rarely seek professional help for treatment of headache. Health promotion in adolescents should increase awareness for evidence-based treatment options for headache.