Cost-effectiveness analysis of early versus non-early intervention in acute migraine based on evidence from the 'Act when mild' study

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    Background: In spite of the important progress made in the abortive treatment of acute migraine episodes since the introduction of triptans, reduction of pain and associated symptoms is in many cases still not as effective nor as fast as would be desirable. Recent research pays more attention to the timing of the treatment, and taking triptans early in the course of an attack when pain is still mild has been found more efficacious than the usual strategy of waiting for the attack to develop to a higher pain intensity level. Objective: To investigate the cost effectiveness of early versus non-early intervention with almotriptan in acute migraine. Methods: An economic evaluation was conducted from the perspectives of French society and the French public health system based on patient-level data collected in the AwM (Act when Mild) study, a placebo-controlled trial that compared the response to early and non-early treatment of acute migraine with almotriptan. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were determined in terms of QALYs, migraine hours and productive time lost. Costs were expressed in Euros (year 2010 values). Bootstrapping was used to derive cost-effectiveness acceptability curves. Results: Early treatment has shown to lead to shorter attack duration, less productive time lost, better quality of life, and is, with 92% probability, overall cost saving from a societal point of view. In terms of drug costs only, however, non-early treatment is less expensive. From the public health system perspective, the (bootstrap) mean ICER of early treatment amounts to €0.38 per migraine hour avoided, €1.29 per hour of productive time lost avoided, and €14 296 per QALY gained. Considering willingness-to-pay values of approximately €1 to avoid an hour of migraine, h10 to avoid the loss of a productive hour, or €30 000 to gain one QALY, the approximate probability that early treatment is cost effective is 90%, 90% and 70%, respectively. These results remain robust in different scenarios for the major elements of the economic evaluation. Conclusions: Compared with non-early treatment, a strategy of early treatment of acute migraine with almotriptan when pain is still mild is, with high probability, cost saving from the French societal perspective and can be considered cost effective from the public health system point of view. Adis © 2012 Springer International Publishing AG. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)201-215
    JournalApplied Health Economics and Health Policy
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2012


    • Almotriptan
    • Cost-effectiveness
    • Cost-utility
    • Intervention
    • Migraine


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