Triptans Versus Analgesics


Address all correspondence to Dr. Lawrence Robbins, Robbins Headache Clinic, 1535 Lake Cook Road, Suite 506, Northbrook, IL 60062.


Objective.—To retrospectively assess patient preferences between triptans and analgesics in treating migraine headache.

Methods.—The study assessed patient preferences for triptans versus commonly used migraine analgesic preparations. Over a 3-month period, 663 patients with migraine between the ages of 17 and 62 years completed an office-based survey.

Results.—Most patients preferred a treatment regimen that included either a triptan alone (52%) or a triptan with an analgesic medication within 1 hour (18%). Overall, 70% of patients who had been given triptans in the past chose to continue to use them, either alone or with an analgesic. Patients who preferred analgesics alone comprised 21% of the total. Nine percent preferred not to take either triptans or analgesic medications. Among the patients who preferred triptans, 62% stated that increased efficacy was the primary reason for their preference. Thirty percent cited both efficacy and decreased adverse events. The remaining 8% believed that decreased adverse events was the basis for their preference.

Conclusions.—Despite cost and other limitations of triptans, most patients prefer them over nontriptan medications. Enhanced efficacy was the main reason for choosing triptans over analgesics.