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Headache. 2010 Jan;50(1):117-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2009.01535.x. Epub 2009 Oct 8.

Adherence to acute migraine medication: what does it mean, why does it matter?

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  • 1Merck & Co., Inc, Global Outcomes Research, Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA.


Proper use of medications is an important part of successfully managing migraine headache, yet migraineurs frequently switch, discontinue, or delay taking effective prescription therapies such as triptans. Medication persistence in the treatment of chronic-episodic disorders such as migraine is not well understood. In this article we review this topic, by critically reviewing studies conducted using pharmacy claims, clinical records, survey, and patient-reported data to explore acute medication use for migraine headache. While efficacy, cost, drug tolerability, and side effects impact whether a patient takes migraine medication, low perceived disease importance and factors related to the patient's internal decision-making process play a strong role in the sustained use of acute medication for migraine attack. We propose a model that combines the patient's perceived severity of migraine, their beliefs regarding the safety of acute medications, and factors related to the physician-patient relationship to identify migraineurs at high risk for medication adherence problems.

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