FRIDAY, March 16, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Taking a daily medication to prevent migraine headaches can boost worker productivity and save companies money, a U.S. study shows.

Half of the 325 migraine-plagued workers in the study took the drug topiramate (brand name Topamax) each day, and the other half took a placebo.

The study was funded by Ortho-McNeil Neurologics Inc., the maker of Topamax.

The drug's effect on work absenteeism was minimal, say researchers from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Among those taking the drug, average missed work time per week was one hour, compared to 1.5 hours for those taking the placebo.

However, the drug had a much greater effect on "presenteeism" -- days that employees were on the job but not able to work at full capacity due to a migraine. When the researchers added absenteeism and presenteeism together, they found that the total lost productive time for workers with migraines was 14.6 hours per month before they started taking topiramate, compared to 5.1 hours per month while they were taking the drug.

Workers taking the placebo also showed a decrease in total lost productive time when their presenteeism and absenteeism were added together, but the gain in productivity was higher among workers taking topiramate, the study said.

The findings are published in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

It's estimated that migraines cost U.S. businesses up to $28.7 billion a year in lost productivity, according to background information in a news release about the study.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about migraine headaches.

Robert Preidt and Consumer news

Updated on June 12, 2022

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