Advances in Migraine Management: Implications for Managed Care Organizations

In response to the expense of new migraine therapies, treatment practices aimed at controlling direct costs are now the norm.

David W. Dodick, MD
Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Robert J. Lipsy, PharmD
Department of Pharmacy, University of Arizona, Tucson


Migraine headache is a disabling disease that poses a significant societal burden. Stratified care and early intervention are current strategies for migraine management. It has been shown that early treatment with triptans in select patients can improve treatment outcomes. Triptans are selective 5-HT receptor agonists that are specific and effective treatments in the management of migraine, and they meet the acute treatment goal of rapid relief with minimal side effects. Triptans are associated with improved quality of life. Factors such as speed of onset, need for a second triptan dose, and patient satisfaction should be considered in the selection of a specific triptan treatment. Appropriate treatment can decrease costs. The patient's migraine history and response to prior therapy should be considered when selecting acute treatment. Cost-effectiveness models can be used to understand the effect of treatment choices on health care budgets. The direct cost per migraine episode, driven primarily by the need for rescue medications, is important to include in economic models. All aspects of effectiveness (efficacy, tolerability, and cost) should be considered to reduce overall managed care expenditures for migraine treatment. The improved clinical profiles of the triptans provide substantial value to managed care organizations.

Author correspondence:
David W. Dodick, MD
Department of Neurology
Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale
13400 East Shea Boulevard
Scottsdale, AZ 85259

This paper has undergone peer review by appropriate members of Managed Care's Editorial Advisory Board.

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