Open Access

Patients’ preference for triptans and other medications as a tool for assessing the efficacy of acute treatments for migraine

The Journal of Headache and Pain20056:164

DOI: 10.1007/s10194-005-0164-3

Received: 8 November 2004

Accepted: 22 February 2005

Published: 13 May 2005


Oral triptans are effective and well tolerated acute treatments for migraine, but clinical differences between them are small and difficult to measure in conventional clinical trials. Patient preference assesses a global measure of efficacy and tolerability, and may be a more sensitive means of distinguishing between these drugs. In a series of studies, patients consistently expressed a clear preference for triptans over their usual non–triptan acute medications, e.g., analgesics and ergotamine. Direct comparator studies of patient preference with oral triptans showed that patients could distinguish between different triptans, and between different formulations of the same triptan. Patients could even distinguish between the three oral doses of sumatriptan. The most frequently provided reasons for preference were speed of response and overall effectiveness. Patient preference is a sensitive clinical trial endpoint and physicians should consider using it when reviewing the efficacy of acute migraine medications.

Key words

Migraine Triptans Acute treatment Patient preference Patient satisfaction