Background: Migraine headache is a common, debilitating condition responsible for astronomical societal burden. The chronicity of migraine headaches necessitates the use of many healthcare services. Preventative treatment remains the desirable option for this patient population. Pharmacologic advances have led to the development of erenumab, a monoclonal antibody calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonist that directly interferes with the known biochemical pathway of migraine initiation. Alternatively, surgical decompression of migraine trigger sites is a historically effective preventative option for certain patients experiencing migraine headaches. As new treatments emerge, the large economic burden of migraine headaches requires cost evaluation against already available preventative modalities.
Methods: Studies evaluating the cost-effectiveness of both erenumab and surgical trigger site deactivation were found using EMBASE and MedLine. Relevant economic data was extracted from this literature and the cost of treatment with erenumab was compared with surgical decompression.
Results: The market price of erenumab is $6900/yr. Speculative models predicted a direct annual healthcare cost ranging from $11,404 to $12,988 for patients experiencing episodic migraine. For chronic migraine patients, this range extended to $25,604. Annual indirect costs ranged from $7601 to $19,377. Prospective and model-based studies evaluating surgical trigger site deactivation reported an average 1 time surgical cost between $6956 and $10,303. In episodic migraine, subsequent annual healthcare costs were $900.
Conclusions: Erenumab has potential to be a revolutionary noninvasive preventative treatment for migraine headache. With that said, the cost-conscious option for patients receiving more than 1 year of treatment remains surgical trigger site deactivation.
Copyright © 2021 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.