Patterns of Use of Triptans and Reasons for Switching Them in a Tertiary Care Migraine Population

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ObjectiveTo assess the reasons for switching triptans within migraine patients presenting to a specialty clinic.Design and MethodsWe reviewed data of migraineurs who (1) were currently using a triptan as acute treatment medication for migraine, and (2) had previously used at least one other triptan, or a different triptan formulation. All subjects were followed for at least 1 year. For every triptan/formulation used, the reasons for discontinuation were obtained.ResultsOur sample consisted of 386 patients, 339 of whom (87.8%) were females. Sumatriptan was first used by 349 (90.4%); zolmitriptan, by 238 (61.5%); rizatriptan, by 195 (50.5%); naratriptan, by 137 (35.4%); and almotriptan, by 31 (8.0%). Almotriptan was excluded from this analysis because of our small sample. We found significant differences among those who wanted to try another triptan to see if it would be better in those who first used sumatriptan 25 mg, compared to those first using sumatriptan 50 mg (P = .01), sumatriptan 100 mg (P < .001), sumatriptan nasal spray (NS) (P < .001), sumatriptan subcutaneous (SC) (P < .001), zolmitriptan 5 mg (P < .001), rizatriptan 10 mg (P < .001), and naratriptan (P = .001). Patients using rizatriptan, sumatriptan NS, and sumatriptan SC had significantly lower rates of reporting this answer. Subjects first using naratriptan were less likely to report recurrence than those using sumatriptan 25 mg (P = .004), sumatriptan 50 mg (P = .0005), sumatriptan 100 mg (P = .003), zolmitriptan (P = .02), and rizatriptan (P = .006). Incomplete relief was more frequently reported by those first using sumatriptan 25 mg and naratriptan. Inconsistency was a reason for switching in those initially using sumatriptan NS, sumatriptan 25 mg, and naratriptan and less frequently reported in those using zolmitriptan and sumatriptan SC. Side effects were major factors for those first using sumatriptan 100 mg, NS, and SC, and less for those using naratriptan and sumatriptan 25 mg. From those subjects that initially used sumatriptan SC and were switched to a different triptan or formulation, 19.5% returned to sumatriptan SC; for the other triptans/formulations, the percentages were: sumatriptan 25 mg, 7.8%; sumatriptan 50 mg or 100 mg, 42.3%; sumatriptan NS, 17.7%; zolmitriptan, 17.6%; rizatriptan, 16.5%; naratriptan, 9.4%. For those who used more than three triptans/formulations, the last triptan used was: sumatriptan, 29.5%; zolmitriptan, 31.8%; rizatriptan, 25.0%; naratriptan, 12.5%.ConclusionsA variety of treatment attributes are important in determining the reasons involved in switching a triptan. To assess this attributes can provide additional information to supplement the traditional tests of efficacy provided by randomized clinical trials.

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