Objective.— To describe the use of oral triptans with or without nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for acute migraine treatment in a managed care population and its potential impact on functionality.
Background.— Prescription or over-the-counter NSAIDs with or without oral triptans are commonly used for treatment of acute migraine pain. Little is known about patients’ treatment strategy when they have had experiences using NSAIDs and oral triptan cotherapy and the relationship between treatment strategy and migraine symptoms and functionality.
Method.— Migraineurs identified from an administrative claims database were surveyed for their use of oral triptans and NSAIDs during their last attack in the screening phase and during the subsequent migraine attack in the follow-up phase of the study. Treatment regimens were classified into 6 categories: simultaneous coadministration of triptans and NSAIDs (T&N); triptans first followed by NSAIDs (T_N); NSAIDs first followed by triptans (N_T); triptans only (TRP_only); NSAIDs only (NSAID_only); and others. Headache experience, reasons for treatment regimens, and treatment satisfaction were cross-tabulated by treatment regimens. The log-rank test was used for the analysis of time-to-event data.
Results.— Among 8440 oral triptan users surveyed during the screening phase, 2307 (27%) reported using triptans and NSAIDs combination therapy during their last migraine attack. Of those, 1502 experienced a subsequent migraine attack and completed the follow-up survey; 38% of these 1502 patients who used triptans and NSAIDs cotherapy during their last migraine attack continued to use combination therapy for their next attack. The most common treatment regimen, excluding “others” (n = 354, 24%), was TRP_only (n = 403, 27%), followed by N_T (n = 345, 23%), NSAID_only (n = 170, 11%), T&N (n = 152, 10%), and T_N (n = 75, 5.0%). More TRP_only patients became nausea-free within 1 h after an initial dosing. TRP_only, T&N, and N_T had significantly shorter median hours of suffering from migraine and limited functioning, as compared with other treatment regimens. Substantially more patients taking TRP_only (34.7%) were very satisfied with their current treatment regimen than other regimens.
Conclusions.— Migraine patients frequently change their treatment regimens in response to headache profiles. For patients with migraine associated nausea symptom, combination of therapy with triptan and NSAIDs appears to be less effective in relieving nausea than triptan monotherapy. Triptan montherapy remains a common and an effective migraine treatment strategy.