Results from the largest-ever study to track real-time adherence to triptans during an extended time were presented at the American Headache Society 57th Annual Scientific Meeting.

“We know that triptans work really well for a majority of patients with migraine. In this study, we found that those patients who can recognize their symptoms are best positioned to take a triptan,” Dr. Robert A. Nicholson , director of behavioral medicine at the Mercy Clinic Headache Center & Mercy Health Reserch in St. Louis said.

“One of the things we want to do is encourage providers to work with their patients and make sure patients are engaged in their own care to be able to be their own best managers of their pain,” he added. “They should be trained to pay attention to their symptoms so they can give themselves the best chance for success in treating a migraine when it occurs.”

Asked to comment on these findings, Thomas N. Ward, professor of neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Lebanon, New Hampshire, said, “It’s quite clear that they had less disability on the days they take their triptan, which then of course begs the question, why don’t they take their triptans on other days” It’s complicated, and this study doesn’t really address that,” he said. “This little bit of behavioral information is very interesting, and obviously needs more study.”

Dr. Nicholson analyzed real-time daily Web-based and smart device-enabled headache diaries from 262 patients who used a triptan for at least one migraine attack and who kept the records for at least 10 days.

Of a total of 7,520 days assessed in which the patient had a migraine, probable migraine, or presumed migraine, the patient took a triptan in 57% and did not take a triptan in 43%.

After controlling for demographic and psychological variables, triptan adherence was higher when pain severity was mild vs moderate or severe.

Patients were more adherent, however, when they had nausea, photophobia, pulsating and unilateral pain.

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