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Cost Benefit Analysis of Sumatriptan Tablets Versus
Usual Therapy for the Treatment of Migraine
Posted July 2000

Background: The goal of migraine treatment is to alleviate the symptoms of migraine attacks and return patients to their usual activities. Despite the superior efficacy in relieving moderate/severe migraine pain and reducing disability, clinical use of triptan medications has been restricted due to the price differential between triptans and other traditional therapy. Economic analysis considering both the costs and benefits of the treatment alternatives f migraine is important to clinical decision making. Such studies will be informative to clinical practice and formulary decisions. Productivity loss/gain as a result of migraine management would illustrate the societal impact of alternative migraine treatments.

Objective: A cost-benefit analysis was conducted from the society’s perspective to compare the net benefits of sumatriptan tablets and usual therapy.

Method: A decision analytical model was constructed with probability estimates based upon previously published data from an open-label clinical trial assessing the economic and humanistic impact of sumatriptan and usual therapy in nursing personnel (Adelman et al 1996). Direct medical care costs including costs for medication, physician and emergency room visits for migraine treatment were considered. Benefits were estimated using the human capital approach based on the U.S. average of weekly earnings and productivity loss estimated from a published migraine clinical trial.

Results: Total expected cost of sumatriptan was $17.03, as compared to $2.85 for usual therapy. Total expected benefit of sumatriptan and usual therapy were $66.75 and $22.59, respectively. The net benefits of sumatriptan and usual therapy for treatment of a single migraine attack were estimated to be $50 and $20, respectively. Annual incremental net benefit of using sumatriptan over usual therapy was estimated to be $1116 per patient.

Conclusions: The price differential between sumatriptan tablets and usual therapy was offset by sumatriptan’s superior efficacy, reduced health care resource use and productivity loss relative to usual therapy.