To estimate the prevalence of cluster headache in working-aged people, compare sickness absence rates and disability pension in cluster headache patients to rates in a matched comparison group, and explore associations of sociodemographic factors with such rates.


Through population-based registers, we identified 3,240 people aged 16–64, living in Sweden in 2010, who at least once during 2001–2010 received inpatient or specialized outpatient health care with cluster headache (ICD-10 code G44.0) as main diagnosis. A comparison group (n = 16,200), matched for age, sex, type of living area, and educational level, from the total population aged 16–64 (n = 5,945,895) was used. Outcomes were sickness absence (>14 days) and disability pension during 2010. Crude and adjusted prevalence rates and odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were computed.


The prevalence of cluster headache in working-aged people was 0.054%. In 2010, 17.30% of the cluster headache group and 9.16% of the comparison group had been on sickness absence. In the cluster headache group, female patients had higher sickness absence rates (25.31%) and full-time disability pension (13.17%) than male patients (13.38% and 8.79%). Cluster headache patients older than 35 had higher rates than those of the same age in the comparison group. Further, cluster headache patients born outside Sweden were more likely to have full-time disability pension than patients born in Sweden.


Much higher rates of the patients had sickness absence or disability pension than in the comparison group. Further shown differences related to sex, age, and other sociodemographic factors need to be addressed.

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