Cost-Effectiveness of Antiepileptic Drugs in Migraine Prophylaxis


Dr. J. U. Adelman, Headache Wellness Center, 301 E Wendover, Greensboro, NC 27401, USA. E-mail:


Objective.—To analyze the cost-effectiveness of antiepileptics in migraine prophylaxis.

Methods.—A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed using efficacy data from three recent, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trials of antiepileptic drugs studied for migraine prevention and cost data. Two measures of cost-effectiveness were used: cost per headache prevented and the cost-equivalent number.

Results.—In the double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trials evaluated, three antiepileptic drugs were shown to be effective in migraine prevention. All three antiepileptic drugs had high costs per migraine reduced. Gabapentin was the most costly at $138.00 per migraine prevented, whereas the cost per migraine prevented with topiramate was $114.80 and with divalproex sodium was $48.00. For migraine prevention divalproex sodium became cost-effective with 10 migraines per month, whereas gabapentin and topiramate required considerably more migraines per month to be cost-effective.

Conclusions.—Antiepileptic drugs have proven effectiveness in migraine prophylaxis. However, in patients responsive to their acute care medications, the antiepileptic drugs are only cost-effective for those patients with a high frequency of migraines and those with comorbid diseases. Future studies should be done with antiepileptic drugs in patients exhibiting a migraine frequency of 10 or more headaches per month.