Triptan persistency among newly initiated users in a pharmacy claims database

Božena J. Katić, Srini Rajagopalan, Tony W. Ho, Ya Ting Chen, X. Henry Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Our study was conducted to describe prescription refill patterns among patients newly treated with triptans. Background: Although triptans are efficacious in treating migraine headache, the persistency of triptan use among newly initiated users has not been well described. Methods: From a US pharmacy claims database, we identified patients receiving new triptan monotherapy prescriptions from 2001 to 2005. Prescription refill information was gathered for two years for each patient. Persistency was defined as sustained refills of the index triptan prescription, regardless of duration between refills. Results: Of 40,892 patients receiving a new triptan prescription, 53.8% (N = 22031) did not persistently refill their index triptan. Of these, 25.5% discontinued prescription migraine therapy, 7.4% switched to a different triptan, and 67.1% switched to a non-triptan migraine medication at the time of their first refill. Only 46.2% of patients received at least one persistent refill. Conclusions: Migraine patients were more likely to discontinue their triptan after their index prescription than at any other time in their prescription refill history. The majority of patients did not persistently refill triptans, but filled prescriptions for non-specific migraine therapies such as opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Reasons for triptan discontinuation warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-500
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Triptan persistency
  • claims data
  • migraine medication adherence
  • refill patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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