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Triptans Versus Analgesics
Lawrence Robbins, M.D.
Posted November 2002  
Headache 2002;42:903-907

Objective:   To retrospectively assess patient preferences between triptans and analgesics in treating migraine headache.

Methods:   The study assessed patient preferences for triptans versus commonly used migraine analgesic preparations. Over a 3-month period, 663 patients with migraine between the ages of 17 and 62 years completed an office-based survey.

Results:   Most patients preferred a treatment regimen that included either a triptan alone (52%) or a triptan with an analgesic medication within 1 hour (18%). Overall, 70% of patients who had been given triptans in the past chose to continue to use them, either alone or with an analgesic. Patients who preferred analgesics alone comprised 21% of the total. Nine percent preferred not to take either triptans or analgesic medications. Among the patients who preferred triptans, 62% stated that increased efficacy was the primary reason for their preference. Thirty percent cited both efficacy and decreased adverse events. The remaining 8% believed that decreased adverse events was the basis for their preference.

Conclusions:   Despite cost and other limitations of triptans, most patients prefer them over nontriptan medications. Enhanced efficacy was the main reason for choosing triptans over analgesics.