• migraine;
  • triptan;
  • acute treatment;
  • headache-related disability;
  • depression;
  • preventive treatment

Background.— Though triptans are considered the standard of acute therapy for migraine attacks with headache-related disability, they are used by the minority of potentially eligible persons. Understanding the socio-demographic and headache features that predict triptan use may help to clarify barriers to optimal treatment.

Objective.— To assess the sociodemographic and headache features associated with triptan use in a US population sample of persons with episodic migraine.

Methods.— The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study (AMPP) is a longitudinal study conducted in a representative sample of US headache sufferers. Episodic migraineurs (n = 11,388) who provided treatment data in 2005 were included in the current analyses. We assessed factors associated with triptan use through univariate and multivariate analyses. Multivariate analyses were adjusted for sociodemographic factors, headache-related disability, cutaneous allodynia, depression, and preventive headache medication use.

Results.— Among persons with episodic migraine, 18.31% reported current use of triptans for acute headache treatment. In univariate analyses, triptan use was most common in midlife (ages 30-59), among females, and was more common in Caucasians than in African Americans. Triptan use increased with headache frequency, headache-related disability and allodynia, but decreased among persons with depression. In multivariate analyses, female gender, Caucasian race, age 40-49, higher levels of education (college or higher), annual household income of ≥$40,000, having health insurance, the presence of cutaneous allodynia, greater headache-related disability, and preventive medication use for migraine were significantly associated with triptan use.

Conclusions.— Less than 1 in 5 persons with migraine in the United States who were respondents to this survey used triptans for acute headache treatment over the course of a year. Several markers of severe headache, including disability and allodynia, were associated with increased triptan use. Groups less likely to get triptans included males, African Americans, older adults, and the uninsured. Predictors of use provide insight into groups with unmet treatment needs.