OBJECTIVE: To understand treatment preferences of people with migraine and the relative importance of improvements in efficacy and avoiding adverse events (AEs), such as cognition problems or weight gain.
BACKGROUND: Current preventive migraine medicines are associated with poor adherence and tolerability. There is an unmet need for effective migraine-specific preventive treatments with fewer AEs.
METHODS: In a web-based discrete-choice experiment survey, respondents who self-reported having ≥6 migraine days/month were offered choices between pairs of hypothetical preventive migraine medicines. Six attributes, each with 3 levels, defined the medicines: reduction in headache days per month (10%, 25%, or 50%), frequency of limitations with physical activities (none, 1-category improvement, or 2-category improvement), cognition problems (no problems, thinking problems, or memory problems), weight gain (none, 5% body weight gain, or 10% body weight gain), how the medicine is taken (daily oral pill, once-monthly injection, or twice-monthly injection), and monthly out-of-pocket cost ($5, $60, or $175). The attributes and levels were informed by clinician input, the clinical literature, and 2 focus groups. An experimental design was used to create the pairs of hypothetical medicines for the discrete-choice experiment questions. Random-parameters logit was used to estimate the relative importance of the medicine attributes, and the results were used to predict the percentage of respondents who would select one medicine profile over another and to calculate willingness to pay for changes in attribute levels.
RESULTS: The sample included 300 respondents; 72% indicated that migraines make physical activities difficult all or most of the time, and 81% had taken a prescription medicine to prevent migraine in the last 6 months. Respondents reported having, on average, approximately 16 headache days per month. Among noncost attributes, respondents valued a change from a 10% reduction in migraine days to a 50% reduction more highly than avoiding the worst levels of AEs, but were willing to trade off efficacy for less-severe AEs. Avoiding memory problems was more important than avoiding thinking problems. Avoiding a 10% weight gain was more important than avoiding thinking and memory problems. Respondents preferred a once-monthly injection or daily pill to twice-monthly injection. Respondents, on average, were willing to pay $84 (95% confidence interval [CI], $64-$103) per month to avoid a 10% weight gain, $59 (95% CI, $42-$76) per month to avoid memory problems, $35 (95% CI, $20-$51) per month to avoid a 5% weight gain, and $32 (95% CI, $18-$46) per month to avoid thinking problems.
CONCLUSIONS: A preventive migraine medicine with improved efficacy and AE profile and a favorable mode of administration would be valuable to migraine sufferers. Patients may be willing to trade off efficacy for better AE profiles. Clinicians should work with patients to select treatments that meet each patient's needs.