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Switching patients with migraine from sumatriptan to other triptans increases primary care costs


*Naren Savani, MBBS, LRCP, Colne House Surgery, 99 Uxbridge Road, Rickmansworth, WD3 7DJ, UK
Tel.: +44-1923-776295
Fax: +44-1923-777744


Treatment of migraine with triptans is highly effective, although cost considerations may prompt a change in therapy. This retrospective database analysis of 3196 patients with migraine, established on sumatriptan therapy, found that 54% of the 292 experiencing a triptan switch returned to sumatriptan within 15 months, suggesting that the alternative was less acceptable. Excluding patients with unusually high use of triptans (≥208 tablets/year), switching therapy resulted in a significant increase of £53/patient in total costs, compared with patients continuing on sumatriptan (p = 0.014). Cost savings (£17/patient over 15 months) were observed only among the 41% of patients in whom the initial switch was successful and did not result in a further switch or return to sumatriptan. Among patients who were relatively low cost initially, switching resulted in increased costs, irrespective of the outcome. This study suggests that there is no economic justification for switching from sumatriptan to another triptan.