Literature Review

What do patients want in a migraine preventive?



A migraine preventive with improved efficacy and adverse event profile and a favorable mode of administration would be valuable to patients with migraine, according to the results of a study published in Headache. When offered hypothetical preventive migraine medicines with a wide array of attributes, patients leaned toward those with a reduction in migraine days and an avoidance of weight gain, according to an analysis of responses to a discrete-choice experiment survey.

“We found that respondents had a significant willingness to pay for medicines with higher efficacy and less-severe adverse events,” wrote Carol Mansfield, PhD, of RTI Health Solutions in North Carolina, and coauthors.

To evaluate patient preferences for theoretical migraine medicine, the researchers conducted a discrete-choice experiment via a web-based survey. Respondents met eligibility criteria if they were adults aged 18 years or older who self-reported 6 or more migraine days per month and completed the survey in full. They were asked to choose between options defined by six attributes: reduction in headache days per month, frequency of limitations with physical activities, cognition problems, weight gain, how the medicine is taken, and monthly out-of-pocket cost.

Of the 300 respondents included in the analysis, 72% indicated that migraines make physical activities difficult all or most of the time, and 81% had taken a prescription migraine preventive in the last 6 months. Respondents reported, on average, approximately 16 headache days per month. Among noncost attributes, respondents valued a change from a 10% reduction in migraine days to a 50% reduction more highly than avoiding the worst levels of adverse events – defined as memory problems and 10% weight gain – but were willing to trade off efficacy for less-severe adverse events. Avoiding memory problems was more important than avoiding thinking problems. Avoiding a 10% weight gain was more important than avoiding thinking and memory problems. Respondents preferred a once-monthly injection or daily pill to twice-monthly injections. Respondents, on average, were willing to pay $116 per month for an improvement from 10% to 50% in reduced headache days (95% confidence interval [CI], $91-$141) and $43 for an improvement from 10% to 25% (95% CI, $34-$53). They were also willing to pay $84 per month to avoid a 10% weight gain (95% CI, $64-$103), $59 per month to avoid memory problems (95% CI, $42-$76), and $32 per month to avoid thinking problems (95% CI, $18-$46).

The coauthors acknowledged their study’s limitations, including all migraine diagnoses being self-reported and the study sample not necessarily being representative of patients with migraine overall. In addition, though the potential medicinal attributes used were prominent in clinical literature and focus groups, they could choose only a limited amount and so their analysis “did not address other attributes that may be important to patients.”

Given their findings, the researchers recommended that “clinicians should work with patients to select treatments that meet each patient’s needs.”

Amgen and Novartis funded the study. The authors reported numerous conflicts of interest, including receiving grants, consulting fees, and royalties from pharmaceutical companies and organizations. During the study, three of the authors were employed at RTI Health Solutions, a non-for-profit organization that conducts research with pharmaceutical companies such as the study’s sponsor.

SOURCE: Mansfield C et al. Headache. 2019 May;59(5):715-26. doi: 10.1111/head.13498.

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