Lilly Presents New Findings on Stigma Faced by People with Migraine Based on Interim Results from the OVERCOME Observational Study

PRNewswire 13-Jul-2019 6:45 AM

INDIANAPOLIS, July 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) today announced the presentation of data about personal attitudes toward migraine among people without the disease.1 These data are from the OVERCOME (Observational Survey of the Epidemiology, Treatment and Care of Migraine) study. The findings demonstrate that discriminating attitudes towards people with migraine, unconscious or otherwise, are deep-rooted and advanced by a lack of understanding about the disease.1 They point to a need for greater respect for, and appreciation of, this serious neurologic disease.1 These data will be presented today, Saturday, July 13, 2019, at the 61st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society taking place in Philadelphia.

The OVERCOME study included more than 20,000 people with migraine and nearly 10,000 people without migraine. Within the sub-group who did not have the disease, 2,000 were surveyed about their attitudes toward people with migraine.1 More than 40 percent of people who knew at least one person with migraine felt that those living with the disease use their migraine as an excuse to avoid family, work, or school commitments and/or exaggerate their symptoms.1 More than one third (36%) believed that someone's migraine attacks are caused by their own unhealthy behavior.1

These attitudes and beliefs were consistent throughout the personal "circles" of a person living with migraine, including co-workers, friends, and even their family.1 Other key results showed that nearly half of respondents felt that migraine should be easily treated (45%) and approximately 1 in 3 believed those with migraine make things difficult for their co-workers (29%).1

"These results demonstrate why it remains a challenge for people with migraine to speak up and advocate on their own behalf with family, among friends, or in the workplace," said Robert E. Shapiro, M.D., Department of Neurological Sciences, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont and scientific advisor to the OVERCOME study. "The disability and pain caused by migraine are undeniable and only compounded by social stigma."

Negative perceptions of those with migraine existed across respondents.1 The OVERCOME study found that among people without migraine, the more people with migraine they knew, the more negative their beliefs were about those with the disease.1 These findings indicate that the ripple effects from the lack of understanding of, and respect for, migraine, extend to both people with migraine and those who do not have the disease.1

"The stigmatizing attitudes observed in OVERCOME could potentially affect the social dynamics of everyone involved. These beliefs may be changed with a better understanding of migraine, including its role as a leading cause of disability in the U.S. and around the world," said Sheena Aurora, M.D., medical fellow and global launch leader, Eli Lilly and Company.2 "Advancing the improvement of migraine treatment goes beyond the clinic. Advocacy for people affected by the disease must holistically address their day-to-day lives and interactions in their familial, social, and professional networks."

These findings demonstrate that more must be done to raise awareness and understanding of migraine, its impact on peoples' lives and the need for greater support among friends, family and co-workers. Lilly supports the efforts of organizations such as the American Headache Society, the American Migraine Foundation, the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy, and the National Headache Foundation, among others, to promote advocacy on behalf of those living with, and caring for, people with migraine.

About the OVERCOME Study

The Observational Survey of the Epidemiology, Treatment and Care of Migraine (OVERCOME) study aims to further understand the burden of migraine and stigma experienced by people living with the disease, identify barriers to appropriate treatment of migraine and assess how the introduction of novel treatment options may influence delivery of migraine care and outcomes.

The OVERCOME study is a prospective, web-based patient survey designed to follow two U.S. population samples of 20,000 people with migraine for two years following their enrollment. The first population sample began enrollment in 2018, with the second population sample to begin enrollment in 2020. In parallel, the study also includes two U.S. population samples of 10,000 people without migraine during the same enrollment periods, providing a unique perspective about how migraine is perceived by those who do not have the disease.

About the OVERCOME Scientific Advisory Board

The OVERCOME study is being conducted by Kantar on behalf of Eli Lilly and Company with expert guidance provided by some of the leading voices in migraine research today, including:

  • Dawn C. Buse, Ph.D., Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Clinical Health Psychology Doctoral Program of the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University
  • Michael L. Reed, Ph.D., President, Vedanta Research
  • Richard B. Lipton (Study Chair), M.D., Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Robert E. Shapiro, M.D., Department of Neurological Sciences, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
  • Sait Ashina, M.D., Department of Neurology and Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, and Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Susan Hutchinson, M.D., Orange County Migraine and Headache Center

About Eli Lilly and Company

Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve upon the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at and  P-LLY



Shapiro R. et al, Stigmatizing Attitudes About Migraine by People without Migraine: Results of the OVERCOME Study. Abstract OR15. 61st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society (AHS), 2019.


Vos T., et al, Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet. 2017;16:390.

Refer to:

Jen Dial;; 317-220-1172 (Lilly Bio-Medicines)

Kevin Hern;; 317-277-1838 (Investor Relations)   

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