This study was planned to investigate the economic impact of headache on Turkish headache sufferers attending a tertiary care outpatient headache clinic. A total of 937 headache patients were included in this study and questioned using a questionnaire for the profile of patients and headache, quality of life of patients and economic impact of headache. The median total direct cost was found to be 88.0 USD and the median total cost was 160.7 USD. The drug treatment cost was the highest item followed by the specialist outpatient care cost. The average lost and inefficient work/school days was 1.5 (0-45) and 8.4 (0-100) days for one year. It was shown that loss of productivity was higher for migraine without aura group when compared with the episodic and chronic tension-type headache groups. The results of this nationwide university hospital based study showed that headache, especially migraine, has considerable economic impact on patients. © Springer-Verlag Italia 2006.