Topiramate in migraine prophylaxis: long-term impact on resource utilization and cost

Headache. 2007 Apr;47(4):500-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2007.00754.x.


Objective: To evaluate the medical resource utilization and overall cost of care among patients treated with topiramate (TPM) for migraine prevention in a commercially insured population. Background.-Preventive migraine therapy with TPM significantly reduces the frequency of migraine attacks. Limited data exist on the real-world health care consumption associated with TPM therapy for migraine prevention.

Methods: Data were obtained from a large geographically diverse integrated medical and pharmacy claims database representative of the commercially insured population. The date of the first TPM claim between July 2000 and December 2003 was considered the index date. Patients needed at least 1 triptan prescription (Rx) claim during the 6-month preindex period, and > or =2 TPM Rx claims in the 12 months following index TPM Rx to be included in the analysis. Headache-related inpatient and outpatient resource use were compared: preindex vs postindex period 1 (months 1-6) and preindex vs postindex period 2 (months 7-12). Subgroup analyses were conducted based on the triptan consumption during the 6-month preindex period: Cohort L (low triptan users) with < or =36 triptan doses, and Cohort H (high triptan users) with >36 triptan doses.

Results: The sample included 2645 plan members (1778 patients in Cohort L, and 867 patients in Cohort H). TPM utilization was associated with significantly less triptan utilization in the first (34.8 quantity dispensed; 7.5% decrease) and second (30.2; 19.6% decrease) follow-up periods compared to the preindex period (37.6; both P < .0001). In postindex period 1, there was a 46% decrease in emergency department (ED) visits, 39% decrease in diagnostic procedures (eg, CT scans and MRIs), and a 33% decrease in hospital admission; physician office visits were unchanged. In postindex period 2, there was a 46% decrease in ED visits, 72% decrease in diagnostic procedures, 61% decrease in hospital admissions, and a 35% decrease in physician office visits. Decreases in resource use were observed in both cohorts L and H. Mean +/- SD total headache-related cost was $2118 +/- $3406 per patient in the preperiod, versus $2450 +/- $3318 in follow-up period 1 and $2009 +/- $3136 in follow-up period 2.

Conclusion: In this sample of patients from a diverse set of health plans receiving TPM, significant decreases in resource use were observed within 6 months of TPM initiation, and this trend continued in follow-up period 2. Although there was an initial increase in total headache-related cost upon introduction of TPM (follow-up period 1), the cost in follow-up period 2 was lower than in the preindex period, suggesting that benefits of long-term treatment with TPM can be achieved without increasing total cost.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fructose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Fructose / economics
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Review
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / economics*
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control
  • Neuroprotective Agents / economics*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Pharmaceutical Services / economics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Topiramate


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Topiramate
  • Fructose