Objective: To examine the cost effectivess of a stratified-care regimen for patients with migraine — in which patients are stratified by severity of illness, and then prescribed differing treatments according to level of severity — compared with a conventional stepped-care approach.
Design and methods: A decision analytic model was constructed to simulate a controlled clinical trial in which patients with migraine receiving primary medical care were randomly assigned to treatment under a stepped-care or a stratified-care regimen. A health service payer perspective was adopted and the time horizon was 1 year. Data inputs were: (i) the frequency and disability of migraine, derived from population-based studies; (ii) disability level-specific treatment response rates for over-the-counter analgesics, aspirin/metoclopramide and zolmitriptan as the representative of high-end therapy obtained from an international consensus opinion enquiry; and (iii) unit costs of healthcare obtained from UK health service sources.
Main outcome measures and results: The estimated 1-year direct healthcare costs per primary care patient with migraine were pound sterling (£) 156.82 for stepped care and £151.57 for stratified care. Estimates of treatment response rates were 40 and 71% for stepped and stratified care, respectively. The cost per successfully treated attack was £23.43 for stepped care and £12.60 for stratified care.
Stratified care remained cost effective when tested in a wide range of one-way sensitivity analyses, and probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed the cost effectiveness of stratified care to be significant at the 3%level.Conditional confidence analysis showed that the level of confidence in the cost effectiveness of stratified care varied positively with the case mix, i.e. in populations where the proportion of moderate and severely disabled patients with migraine was greater than 25%, the cost effectiveness of stratified care remained statistically significant.
Conclusion: A stratified-care treatment strategy (including zolmitriptan as the representative of high-end therapy) is a highly cost-effective method of managing migraine in the primary care setting compared with stepped care, delivering improved clinical outcomes at no additional cost.