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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Googling migraine: A study of Google as an information resource of migraine management

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INTRODUCTION: Health information is one of the most frequently searched topics on the internet. In this observational cross-sectional study, we evaluated the content of the highest indexed Google search results related to migraine management.

METHODS: We identified the five most used search terms related to migraine management via Google Trends in the time period 1 January 2004 to 2 October 2019. We entered each search term into Google's search engine and retrieved the search results from the first three pages from each search query. We stratified the recommended treatment options and evaluated the websites using the DISCERN tool.

RESULTS: In total, 73 unique websites recommended a total of 77 different migraine treatment options, consisting of 35 (45%) acute and 42 (55%) preventive treatments. For acute treatments, pharmacological options were more frequently recommended (88% of websites), whereas non-pharmacological options were more frequent among preventive treatments (67%). Evaluation of the consumer health information using the DISCERN tool showed that non-governmental organizations had the highest mean total score with 3.8 (±0.19).

CONCLUSIONS: Googling when looking for migraine treatments reveals a multitude of management proposals of varying quality. Non-governmental organizations provide the overall highest quality of written consumer health information on migraine treatments among search results. We encourage stakeholders to optimize and distribute high-quality and peer-reviewed information on migraine management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)1633-1644
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

    Research areas

  • consumer, headache, health information, internet, Online, patient information

ID: 60566663