Two-thirds of women would give up shopping at their favorite store for a year to stop their migraine attacks. Excedrin Migraine has launched an advertising campaign with this so-called fact. Seriously? The willingness to give up shopping at a single store exemplifies the impact of migraine a person’s life? Could they have trivialized migraine or women more?
Here are some real statistics from the World Health Organization:
- People with migraine or severe headaches are three times as likely to be depressed than those without. (Whether or not they are clinically depressed, migraineurs are three times more likely to attempt suicide than people without migraine, according to a non-WHO study)
- WHO classifies severe, continuous migraine to be as disabling as dementia, quadriplegia and terminal stage cancer (PDF).
- At least 50% of people with migraine are undiagnosed and undertreated (PDF) and less than half of migraineurs see a doctor for their “headaches.”
- An estimated 113 million work days and more than $13 billion are lost to migraine in the US each year. In the European Union, approximately 190 million work days are lost to migraine every year (PDF).
Daily, migraineurs struggle against the misconception that migraine is “just a headache,” with families and employers who don’t believe or understand how ill they truly are. Advocates have begged Congress and the FDA to notice how debilitating and woefully underfunded this illness is. The last thing we need is an advertising campaign that diminishes the seriousness of migraine and the women who experience it.
The “fact” about shopping and migraine prickles another nerve by asking what someone would give up to eliminate migraines. For a year, I would live in a cave with no human contact, surviving on rats and cockroaches as my only food source. And, yes, I am completely serious, provided that I have fire to cook the rats. Unfortunately, migraine isn’t a game where you can choose your terms; treating it as one only increases the desperation and lack of control that someone this sick already feels.
If you are as horrified by Excedrin Migraine minimizing migraine and treating women as a superficial, please express your outrage on Excedrin’s Twitter and Facebook pages. A consumer boycott of the magnitude I’m likely to launch from The Daily Headache won’t have much of an impact on such large product, but commenting through social media will at least get their attention. As soon as I finish this blog post, that’s where I’m headed. And I still recommend voting with your pocketbook by buying a generic version or mixing your own (250 mg acetaminophen, 250 mg aspirin and 65 mg caffeine).