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Nurofen Headache Survey Paints Painful Picture

Media Release
30th June 2003

Nurofen Headache Survey Paints Painful Picture

More than 350,000 adult New Zealanders are suffering headaches each week damaging their work, sex and social lives, indicates a Nurofen survey released today.

The results support a World Health Organisation’s report1 in 2000 that classified headache as a disability, and called for a more serious approach toward headache.

Lucie Austin, Marketing Director, Boots Healthcare New Zealand and Australia says the survey results highlight that headache causes physical, emotional, social and economic burden.

“Headache is perceived as a minor or trivial complaint despite being a widespread and debilitating condition suffered by 60 per cent of New Zealanders every few months,” she says.

The Nurofen survey aimed at revealing the effects of headache on everyday lives, showed women aged 18 to 34 are major sufferers of severe headaches, which are largely related to stress and their work environment.

Job performance is significantly affected, with one in ten people who had a headache taking at least one day off work each year, and a worrying 2% taking at least one day off every month. Based on New Zealand’s employed labour force and daily average income2, this costs the economy more than $52 million each year.

Approximately one in three people who took part in the survey said their headache caused them to lose concentration and reduce their productivity at work. More than half felt the reduction was moderate to severe.

Adding to the pain was that their work environment was one of the major causes that triggers their headaches, along with management pressures, clients or customers, and technology.

Income was another influencing factor, as people earning $40,000+ are more likely to suffer headaches more often.

A similar Nurofen survey3 conducted in Australia this year revealed that a large number of Australians, 60 per cent, cited stress as their number one cause of headache, while in New Zealand only 38 per cent cited stress.

Lucie Austin says a range of different medication is available for treating headache, depending on the severity of the pain. However most people treat headache with a non-prescription pain reliever such as Nurofen, which is proven to provide significantly more pain relief than paracetamol in headache4, and is available from your local pharmacy.

New Zealanders highlighted lifestyle as contributing to people’s headaches - nearly one in five experiencing monthly headaches from drinking too much alcohol, with over half the respondents believed cheap wine to be the biggest culprit. One in three experienced headache from a lack of sleep or not drinking enough water.

Headaches also have an impact on sex – 17% of New Zealanders have either used headache as an excuse to avoid sex, or been given the excuse by a partner. Further research found that Cantabrians are the most likely to use headache as an excuse to avoid sex, followed by Aucklanders and Wellingtonians. While on the other side of the Tasman, one in three Australians revealed that headache impacts on intimate relations with their partner.

Additional Key Facts
- 3.2 million New Zealanders suffer from headache
- One in four New Zealanders carry on with their day without doing anything about their headache
- Younger generations (18-24) are more likely to get headaches more frequently
- In the last 12 months more than one in ten respondents cited personal health and money as the cause for their worst headache
- While one in seven saw headache causing strain on their relationship
- Respondents were also asked to list other pains they most regularly suffer from: 32% cited back pain; 25% cited muscular pain; 13% cited arthritic pain; 11% cited period pain
- Nurofen is the number one selling analgesic in pharmacies5
- Nurofen is Nurofen is at least as well tolerated as paracetamol6
- Nurofen works quickly to target headache pain within 15 minutes7,8


About the Survey
The Nurofen headache survey was conducted by NFO New Zealand. The research took place over a three-week period in April 2003 and interviewed 1,000 New Zealanders. It took place in all regions of the country and asked questions about how headache impacts lives. If required, a copy of the survey findings and statistics are available. Unless otherwise stated, all statistics contained within this release are taken from the Nurofen Headache Survey, April 2003.

About Boots Healthcare International
Boots Healthcare New Zealand Ltd is part of Boots Healthcare International (BHI) - an independent business unit of the Boots Company. BHI was founded in 1992 and is a leader in the over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare market. BHI products are sold in more than 130 countries worldwide, with the main brands internationally being Nurofen, Strepsils & Clearasil.

Medicines have benefits and some may have risks. Always read the label and use strictly as directed. If symptoms persist or side effects develop contact your pharmacist. Marketed by Boots Healthcare, Auckland, NZ. Freephone 0508 731234.
Nurofen contains ibuprofen 200mg. Pharmacy only medicine. Do not exceed the recommended daily dose or use if you have stomach ulcers. TAPS PP 548. NUR350.

1 Headache Disorders and Public Health – Education and Management Implications, World Health Organisation, September 2000 (WHO/MSD/MBD/009) pp 3
2 www.stats.govt.nz/income
3 Nurofen Headache Survey, Newspoll Australia, November 2002
4 Schachtel, BP et al. J Clin Pharmacol, 1996; 36: 1120-1125.
5 Aztec MAT 18/5/03.
6 Moore N et al. Clin Drug Invest 1999; 18 (2):89-98. Conducted amongst patients suffering mild to moderate pain excluding only those who were contraindicated by product labeling in France for any of the three analgesics or under normal clinical trial protocol, using doses of up to 1200mg/day ibuprofen, 3000mg/day paracetamol and 3000mg/day aspirin, for short term use.
7 Schachtel BP et al. Headache Journal August 1988; 28: 471-4.
8 Broome JR et al. Aviat Space Environ Med, 1994; 65:19-20.

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