Migraine is not just a bad headache. It is a serious, distinct and complex neurological condition that seriously impacts the personal, professional and social lives of those who suffer from it. For over 25 years, Lilly has been committed to helping people affected by migraine, severe headache disorders and chronic pain conditions. Continued investment in research and innovation is helping us to expand on this success.

While there is an increasing awareness of migraine and understanding of what it is, we want to shift pre-held misconceptions and misunderstandings about migraine to ensure the disease is properly diagnosed, treated and – importantly – respected. Despite the disabling effects the disease has on all aspects of peoples’ lives, there remains the need to legitimize migraine as a disabling neurological condition which causes significant burden to health care systems and wider societies, amongst health care professionals, payors and policy makers.

Lilly is dedicated to fostering new conversation and partnerships to change the way migraine is seen around the world. We recently asked some Lilly employees what “respect migraine” means to them. Here are some of the answers they gave:

“For me, to respect migraine is to raise the awareness about migraine, how badly it’s impacting the life of the patient. It’s important to respect migraine because we need to make sure that everyone suffering from migraine gets understood, gets heard and gets the chance to live life to its fullest.” –  Mazen Abd El Fatah and Dina Boulos

Migraine effects 1 in 7 people, and 40% of sufferers experience it 4 days or more every month. It is much more than just a bad headache and is actually the second leading cause of disability worldwide. Its symptoms often cause people to have to be absent from their lives and loved ones, yet they're stigmatized for doing so.

“Respect for migraine means for me when you are giving the patient the right medication to improve his live and improve his quality of life.”  Lina Harhash

We need to support the health care professionals to implement care pathways that address patients’ needs, so people everywhere can access quality care, earlier.

“It means understanding that this is a very serious debilitating illness. To me, it means destigmatising this disease. People need to understand that patients suffer through this and that they therefore need to have the urgency to treat them.” – Chito Zulueta

The disease can affect anyone – woman or man – and can profoundly impact family life and professional commitment. Migraine-related absenteeism costs industries billions every year. And yet, it is the least publicly funded neurological disease relative to its economic impact.

“Respect migraine means we need to allow patients to have access to new, innovative therapies.” – Robert Lloyd

Migraine is better understood now than it ever has been before. Yet it robs people of their rights to work and live life fully. Respect for the disease means challenging the unhelpful stigmas that surround it.

“It means working together with migraine stakeholders to raise it as a priority in the EU political agenda.” – Laura Campo

Political support is critical in making meaningful change a reality. We need to encourage the European institutions to create policies that ensure optimal care for migraine patients.

What does #respectmigraine mean to you?

#RespectMigraine: International Forum on Women’s Brain and Mental Health

Video Thumbnail: Women's Brain and Mental Health