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Treatment of Migraine in Canada With Naratriptan: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis


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    Data from the Migraine Prevalence Survey were provided by the Institute for Social Research, York University. The survey was completed for Dr. Bernie O'Brien and Mr. Ron Goeree of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis at McMaster University. Neither the Institute for Social Research nor the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis are responsible for the analysis and interpretations here.

Address all correspondence to Dr. J. Jaime Caro, Caro Research, 336 Baker Avenue, Concord, MA 01742.


Objective.—To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of naratriptan for the treatment of migraine in Canada.

Background.—The substantial disability brought on by migraine, coupled with the high prevalence of this disorder, leads to substantial costs. Naratriptan is a newly developed triptan shown to be effective in the treatment of migraine.

Methods.—Monte Carlo modeling techniques were used to simulate the experience of Canadian migraineurs over the course of 1 year. Data from a multinational study comparing oral naratriptan 2.5 mg to customary therapies were used in the cost-effectiveness analysis.

Results.—Naratriptan leads to an annual reduction in symptom duration of 225 hours compared to customary therapy not including other triptans. Reductions in lost productivity yield savings of Can $390 (1998 Canadian dollars) relative to customary therapy, which exceed the increase in drug costs resulting in overall savings of Can $109 per year.

Conclusions.—The use of naratriptan in the treatment of migraine is an economically attractive option, leading to savings in overall costs. Increases in drug costs seem acceptable in light of reductions in symptom duration.