Objective.—To evaluate the impact on costs and outcomes of early migraine treatment with sumatriptan while pain is mild versus sumatriptan treatment of moderate to severe pain.
Background.—Migraines result in substantial pain, impairment, and costs. Recent clinical studies have shown that early treatment with sumatriptan when migraine pain is mild is more effective than sumatriptan treatment when pain is moderate to severe.
Design/Methods.—We developed a decision analytical model to assess the costs and outcomes per treated migraine attack, comparing early treatment while pain is mild versus delayed treatment when pain may become moderate/severe using 50 and 100 mg of sumatriptan. Parameters for the model were derived from published literature and analysis of migraine patient diary data. For each patient group the model determined the duration of mild and moderate/severe migraine pain, the proportion of patients pain free at 4 hours after initial therapy with no recurrence, medical care costs, and work loss costs (from migraine-related absenteeism and decreased productivity) during a 24-hour period. Total costs were calculated as the sum of medical care costs plus work loss costs.
Results.—Early treatment with sumatriptan when migraine pain is mild resulted in substantially decreased total costs per treated attack as compared with treatment when pain is moderate/severe. Early treatment also resulted in decreased time with headache pain, an increased proportion of patients pain free at 4 hours without recurrence, and decreased physician and emergency department visits. Treatment with 100 mg sumatriptan resulted in better outcomes than did treatment with 50 mg sumatriptan, but outcomes with either dose for early treatment of mild pain were superior to those for either dose in delayed treatment when pain may be moderate/severe.
Conclusions.—Model-based results indicate that on a treated attack basis, early treatment of migraine with sumatriptan while pain is mild leads to decreased costs and improved outcomes compared to delayed sumatriptan treatment.