, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 557–566 | Cite as

Effectiveness of Eletriptan in Reducing Time Loss Caused by Migraine Attacks

  • Nicholas E. J. WellsEmail author
  • Timothy J. Steiner
Original Research Article


Background: The growing literature on the economics of migraine and its treatment generally indicates that the direct healthcare costs of managing the disorder are relatively low compared with the personal and societal burdens resulting from the disruption to normal functioning caused by migraine attacks.

Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of eletriptan, a new selective serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) 5-HTIB/IDagonist, in reducing both the patient-focused burden of migraine and the amount of work time foregone during a single attack.

Design: In a phase III, multinational, randomised clinical trial, 692 patients treated a migraine attack with eletriptan 40mg or 80mg, or placebo. Patients responded to a questionnaire seeking information concerning the amount of time lost from usual activities during the attack. Time loss assessments were made 24 hours after the last dose taken and recorded in a diary.

Main outcome measures and results: Patients receiving either dose of the active compound were unable to perform their usual activities for a median period of 4 hours compared with 9 hours experienced by those taking placebo. This difference was highly statistically significant (p < 0.001). The time saving associated with eletriptan usage reflected the differences in efficacy findings in the clinical component of the study.

Conclusion: In this placebo-controlled trial, eletriptan produced a significant reduction in the loss of usual functioning time associated with a migraine attack. This gain clearly represents a substantial benefit to patients with migraine irrespective of how it might most appropriately be valued in monetary terms. Further methodological progress in this area is warranted.


Migraine Usual Activity Sumatriptan Sickness Absence Migraine Attack 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to David Carter for statistical assistance in the preparation of this paper.

The time loss data were collected in a phase III clinical trial of eletriptan funded by Pfizer.


  1. 1.
    Blau JN, Drummond MF. Migraine. London: Office of Health Economics, 1991Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Björk S, Roos P. Economic aspects of migraine in Sweden. Working paper no. 8. Lund: Institute for Health Economics, 1991Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    van Roijen L, Essink-Bot M-L, Koopmanschap MA, et al. Societal perspective on the burden of migraine in The Netherlands. Pharmacoeconomics 1995; 7 (2): 170–9PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Clouse JC, Osterhaus JT. Healthcare resource use and costs associated with migraine in a managed healthcare setting. Ann Pharmacother 1994; 28: 659–64PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Solomon GD, Price KL. Burden of migraine, a review of its socioeconomic impact. Pharmacoeconomics 1997; 11 Suppl. 1: 1–10PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ferrari MD. The economic burden of migraine to society. Pharmacoeconomics 1998; 13 (6): 667–76PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cull RE, Wells NEJ, Miocevich ML. The economic cost of migraine. Br J Med Econ 1992; 11: 103–15Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hu HX, Markson LE, Lipton RB, et al. Burden of migraine in the United States, disability and economic costs. Arch Intern Med 1999; 159: 813–8PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shiell A, Gerard K, Donaldson C. Cost of illness studies: an aid to decision-making? Health Policy 1987; 8: 317–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Drummond M. Cost of illness studies: a major headache? Pharmacoeconomics 1992; 2 (1): 1–4PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Koopmanschap MA. Cost of illness studies: useful for health policy? Pharmacoeconomics 1998; 14 (2): 143–8PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Steiner TJ, on behalf of the Eletriptan Steering Committee. Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of oral eletriptan (40 mg and 80 mg) in the acute treatment of migraine: results of a phase III study [abstract]. Cephalalgia 1998; 18: 385Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stark R, on behalf of the Eletriptan Steering Committee. The efficacy, safety, and tolerabilty of oral eletriptan (40 mg and 80 mg) for the acute treatment of migraine [abstract]. Eur J Neurol 1998; 5 Suppl. 3: S57Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    International Headache Society. Classification and diagnostic criteria for headache disorders, cranial neuralgias and facial pain. Cephalalgia 1998; 8 Suppl. 7: 19–28Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wells NEJ. Comparison of the effectiveness of oral eletriptan (40–80 mg) and Cafergot in reducing the time loss associated with migraine attacks [abstract]. Eur J Neurol 1999; 6 Suppl. 3: 139Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wells NEJ. Comparison of the effectiveness of oral eletriptan (40–80 mg) and oral sumatriptan (50–100 mg) in reducing the time loss and overall impact of migraine attacks [abstract]. Cephalalgia 1999; 19: 354Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Clark CE, MacMillan L, Sondhi S, et al. Economic and social impact of migraine. Q J Med 1996; 89: 77–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Liljas B. How to calculate indirect costs in economic evaluations. Pharmacoeconomics 1998; 13 (1 Pt 1): 1–7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Koopmanschap MA, Rutten FFH, van Ineveld BM, et al. The friction cost method for measuring indirect costs of disease. J Health Econ 1995; 14: 171–89PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pfizer Central ResearchSandwich, KentEngland
  2. 2.Division of Neuroscience and Psychological MedicineImperial College School of MedicineLondonEngland

Personalised recommendations