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Original Research

Prevalence of migraine among medical students of a tertiary care teaching medical college and hospital in South India - A cross-sectional study

Sowmi Raju, Geetha S.


Background: Migraine is a common neurological disorder which affects the quality of life. In students, migraines cause absenteeism from classes and affect academic performance. They adversely affect the daily activities of sufferers and disrupt their lives.

Aims and Objectives: This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of migraine among medical students in a tertiary care medical college and hospital in South India and also to assess the impact on migraine on their daily lives, intensity of migraine, and their therapeutic options seeking behavior, so adequate steps may be taken to prevent as well as adequately treat this ailment.

Materials and Methods: A structured questionnaire was administered to the medical students of a tertiary care medical teaching hospital in South India, and data collected were analyzed to assess the location of headache (unilateral/bilateral/frontal), character, severity, duration, triggers, and family history of migraine. Migraine was diagnosed using ID migraine questionnaire (identification of migraine questionnaire). Migraine Disability Assessment was used to assess disability associated with migraine. Headache severity was assessed using the scale recommended by the international headache society. Results are expressed in n = numbers and percentage.

Results:In our study (n = 366), the prevalence of headache was 60% (n = 219). Prevalence of migraine among medical students was 30% (n = 110). Migraineurs (n = 110) constituted 50% of the headache group. Triggers were identified in 94% migraineurs (n = 103), predominantly emotional stress and anxiety. 49% of students (n = 54) reported a family history of migraine. 65% of students (n = 71) sought medications for migraine; 62% of migraineurs (n = 44) used medicines prescribed by a doctor. Paracetamol was the most common analgesic used by 54% of students (n = 38). Only 8% of migraineurs (n = 6) used specific medication for migraine relief.

Conclusion: Our study found a high prevalence of migraine among medical students with half of them suffering minimal disability due to migraine. Majority migraineurs had identifiable triggers. There is inadequate management of migraine among migraineurs as majority use non-specific drugs for headache relief.

Key words: Migraine; Migraine Disability Assessment; Identification of Migraine Questionnaire; Triggers; Medical Students

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