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The causes are the economic crisis and even social networks. At risk are women’s social and family life, and men’s sex life, sleep and work. One request: that the pain goes away as quickly as possible.

Headache: Italy under the microscope. The causes are the economic crisis and even social networks. At risk are women’s social and family life, and men’s sex life, sleep and work. One request: that the pain goes away as quickly as possible.

  • The Doxa Marketing Advice-Dompé survey outlines a problem relating to 90% of Italian men and women, at least as far as the most common headache is concerned: tension-type headache. However, little is known about its pathology: as many as 39% of the interviewees did not the type of headache they suffer from (headache or migraine?). A sign that they do not consult a doctor for a correct diagnosis.
  • Little sleep, anxiety and worries are the main causes, which are also influenced by the current economic scenario.
  • A new type of headache is coming to the fore among the “always connected”. One-third of the interviewees considered headaches a direct consequence of computer or smartphone abuse by people who want to “appear” on Facebook and the like 24 hours a day.
  • One Italian in three declared that they gave up sex because of headache, particularly men.
  • The most pressing? Make the pain go away quickly. One of the solutions is the rapidly absorbed, orally soluble lysine salt of ketoprofen, which is indicated for the treatment of headache, the most frequent form of which is tension-type headache.
L’Aquila, 20 November 2013 – All Italians suffer from headache at least once a year, but three out of four have to face one practically every month. Once or twice a year for 46%, and 27% have one a week.

This is the picture offered by the Doxa Marketing Advice survey of the relationship between Italians and headache conducted on behalf of Dompé, one of the leading biopharmaceutical companies in Italy. Involving a sample that is representative of the national population, the survey refutes a number of myths but above all mirrors how the disturbance affects Italians in the third millennium.

Headaches are so invasive that they oblige more than 80% of Italians to give up many things. Sex is one of them: one out of three has forsaken intimacy because of headache. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Almost 50% have given up a part of their social lives such as going out with friends; one in three have abandoned hobbies and pastimes (sport, the cinema and travelling); and two-tenths have stopped going to work.

Why is this? The main triggering factors are a lack of rest (particularly among the self-employed), anxiety and stress (mainly among the unemployed), worries and economic difficulties (especially among housewives), and excessive daily commitments. But more than half of the Italians have “performance-induced” headaches, which appear when the greatest effort is required at school or work, a 34% have headaches due to the time they spend in front of their computers at work or at home. It even seems that the time dedicated to one’s favourite social network can cause a headache as one Italian in three is convinced that their headaches are due to their constant connection to the Web as they chat, share and exchange messages with friends and colleagues.

“The survey shows that headaches are an inconvenient fact of life for very many Italians and particularly that the current economic situation underlies the causes indicated by the interviewees,” pointed out Massimo Sumberesi, the General Director of Doxa Marketing Advice. “The lack of rest generating headaches – particularly among entrepreneurs – can also be interpreted as being caused by general concern about the way their businesses are going. The headaches due to anxiety and stress complained of mainly by the unemployed can also be directly related to the difficulties arising from having lost a job or finding another. Furthermore, one-third of Italians actually indicate economic problems as the cause of their headaches: for example, the housewives who have to balance their family budgets”.

Italians often do not know what they are suffering from: almost 40% cannot say whether they suffer from headache or migraine. Furthermore, half of those who claim they suffer from or the other have never been diagnosed by a doctor. “This finding is certainly worrying, particularly in the case of people who have frequent headaches,” explained Gennaro Bussone, founder of the Headache Centre at the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute in Milan and Honorary President of the Italian Neurological Association for Headache Research (ANIRCEF). “Although self-medication with analgesics can be used to treat the occasional attacks typical of tension-type headaches, it is essential to consult a doctor for the diagnosis and treatment of recurrent headaches”.

In search of remedies: the important thing is that it goes away soon!

What is fundamental is that the pain disappears as soon as possible. According to the survey, Italians are looking for a drug that, in addition to being effective, acts rapidly, does not have side effects, and can be taken on an empty stomach. “The most important objective for headache sufferers is a solution that is rapid, effective and safe. We now have a formulation of ketoprofen (an analgesic recommended by the European guidelines for the treatment of tension-type headaches) that meets all of these requirements. Clinical data show that the orally soluble lysine salt of ketoprofen acts rapidly because the way in which it is absorbed by the body makes the active ingredient available in a matter of minutes, and this is associated with a satisfactory tolerability profile”, said Bussone.

In any case, it has to be said that Italians adopt some bizarre behaviours when confronted by pain, which can be divided into four types. There are the “stoics” who consider that pain is something to be overcome by gritting one’s teeth: these are mainly young people and, strangely enough, suffer from headaches quite frequently. The “indifferent” are those who prefer to wait until the pain disappears: they are mainly men with a medium-low level of education. The people who suffer social network-induced headaches are mainly “egocentric” people aged 35-44 years who look for immediate relief. Finally, there are the “resolute”, who are mainly women who have chosen to become informed in order to confront the problem, particularly because their headaches penalise their quality of like. They often have an analgesic within reach.

The commitment of Dompé research

“Dompé is committed to responding to the needs of Italians who suffer from tension-type headaches; within the ambit of responsible self-medication, this is the clearest demonstration of the Group’s modus operandi, which is always aimed at finding innovative solutions to the healthcare needs of patients,” explained Eugenio Aringhieri, the Managing Director of the Dompé Group. “Innovation is an integral part of Dompé’s DNA, be it in the field of drugs for self-medication or the increasingly growing sector of ethical drugs. We are currently concentrating on the research and development of drugs for rare and often orphan diseases by promoting international clinical trials in the “hot” areas of healthcare such as ophthalmology, diabetes, transplants and oncology”.


1) Panerai A, Lanata L., Ferrari M.P., Bagnasco M. A new ketoprofen lysine salt formulation: 40 mg orodispersible granules. Trends Med. 2012; 12(4):159-167. 2) Bendtsen L, Evers S, Linde M, Mitsikostas DD, Sandrini G and Schoenen J. EFNS guideline on the treatment of tension-type headache - Report of an EFNS task force. Eur J Neurol. 2010; 17(11):1318-25.