The Impact of an Over-the-Counter Migraine Medication Program on Quality of Life
Version of Record online: 26 FEB 2003
Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain
Volume 43, Issue 3, pages 191–201, March 2003
How to Cite
Burk, C. T., Gilderman, A., Salas, J., Berenbeim, D. and Nichol, M. B. (2003), The Impact of an Over-the-Counter Migraine Medication Program on Quality of Life. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 43: 191–201. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4610.2003.03042.x
- Issue online: 26 FEB 2003
- Version of Record online: 26 FEB 2003
- Accepted for publication October 27, 2002.
- health-related quality of life;
- over-the-counter migraine medication
Objective.—This study was conducted to assess the health-related quality of life of patients treated with samples of an over-the-counter migraine medication.
Background.—Population-based epidemiologic studies have reported that over 90% of an estimated 28 million migraine sufferers in the United States use both prescription and nonprescription medications for their migraine headaches, with 60% taking over-the-counter medications exclusively. Despite the widespread use of nonprescription drugs, no published literature to date has assessed migraineurs' health-related quality of life associated with use of over-the-counter headache medication.
Methods.—This prospective and observational study evaluated the impact on health-related quality of life of patients from a managed care organization who were diagnosed with migraine and prescribed migraine medications. Patients were enrolled from four different medical groups and were requested to complete health-related quality-of-life questionnaires 2 and 4 months after they were provided with educational materials on migraine and samples of an over-the-counter migraine medication containing a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.
Results.—A total of 99 patients who chose an over-the-counter medication as their initial treatment for acute migraine occurring over the ensuing 4 months completed a baseline Short-Form 36, a validated and reliable general health status questionnaire. They then were retested at months 2 and 4. Results demonstrated significant improvements at months 2 and months 4 in one to four of the health-related quality-of-life dimensions measured relative to scores recorded before the patients were given access to the over-the-counter medication (P < .05). In addition, patients who initially took an over-the-counter medication to treat their migraine headaches reported increased frequency of relief.
Conclusion.—In the 4 months following availability of an over-the-counter migraine medication and educational migraine materials, health-related quality of life and frequency of relief improved for the managed care migraine sufferers who participated in this study.