Migraine Prophylaxis and Acute Treatment Patterns Among Commercially Insured Patients in the United States



To describe prophylactic and acute medication treatment patterns, including timing, medication type, and duration of use in migraine patients initiating prophylaxis.


Patients with migraine can be treated with acute and prophylactic therapies. Current treatment options for migraine prophylaxis are associated with poor tolerability and low adherence and persistence.


This retrospective cohort study used the Truven Health Analytics MarketScan® Research Databases to identify adults in the United States with a migraine diagnosis who initiated migraine prophylactic medication (index event) between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2011. Prescribed prophylactic medications evaluated included topiramate, beta-blockers, and tricyclic antidepressants. Patients were required to have 12 months of pre- and post-index continuous enrollment. Patient characteristics, migraine-specific prescribed prophylactic treatment patterns (including gaps in therapy, treatment switches, and additions of index medications), and prescribed acute medication utilization were assessed.


The study population comprised 107,122 patients, with 52,275 (49%) initiating topiramate, 22,658 (21%) initiating beta-blockers, and 32,189 (30%) initiating tricyclic antidepressants. Mean (SD) age was 41 (12) years and 83% were female. Persistence with migraine prophylactic medication was low; 81% of patients had gaps of >90 days in their migraine prophylaxis in the first year. The gap in therapy occurred early in treatment (mean, 95 days), and only 10% of patients restarted prophylactic therapy within that year. Switching from index medication to another prophylactic medication or adding prophylaxis was uncommon (13% and 5%, respectively). One year after initiating prophylaxis, 65% of patients were not receiving any prophylactic therapies. Most patients initiating migraine prophylaxis also utilized acute treatments (81%); opioid use was more frequent than triptan use (53% vs 48%) and was common (40%) among patients without other chronic pain conditions (eg, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lower back pain).


Patients with migraine who initiated prophylactic therapy had poor persistence with early gaps in therapy, were unlikely to switch prophylactic treatments, and most discontinued prophylaxis by the end of the first year.



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