BERLIN – People never treated for their chronic migraines and those who failed a previous first-line medication reported similar reductions in frequency of headache days after treatment with onabotulinumtoxinA in a post hoc comparison study of the two phase III studies that Allergan used to gain approval for the new indication.
Some migraine medications work better in treatment-naïve patients, compared with those with a past marred by partial responses or one or more failures to first-line prophylactic therapies.
For this reason, Dr. Sheena K. Aurora and her associates assessed data from the two Phase 3 Research Evaluating Migraine Prophylaxis Therapy (PREEMPT) studies (Headache 2010;50:921-36) determine if onabotulinumtoxinA treatment works the same way. They compared 575 participants with a history of migraine prophylaxis use to another 809 participants who never tried such a first-line medication, as defined by the British Association for the Study of Headache (BASH). Amitriptyline and propranolol were the most common previous medications.
There was no significant difference in the reduction of frequency of headache days with onabotulinumtoxinA between previously-treated and untreated patients, Dr. Aurora said at the International Headache Congress, which was sponsored by the International Headache Society and the American Headache Society. A total 45% of patients with a history of first-line medication use versus 50% of those with no such history had a significant reduction in frequency of headache days.
"OnabotulinumtoxinA is an effective treatment of chronic migraine patients who previously failed BASH first-line migraine prophylactic meds and those naïve to BASH first-line migraine prophylactic treatment," said Dr. Aurora, a neurologist specializing in headache, migraine, and movement disorders at the Swedish Pain and Headache Center in Seattle.
Patients also experienced significant improvements in several secondary outcome measures that did not differ significantly between groups. These outcomes included frequency of migraine days, number of moderate to severe headache days, total cumulative hours of headache on headache days, and percentage of participants who reported severe migraines with a 60 or higher on the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6).
patient reports of improvements in health-related quality of life and disability did not differ significantly between groups, Dr. Aurora said.
The BASH guidelines assign medications to first-, second-, and third-line categories for prophylaxis against episodic migraines. However, many physicians use the same medicines to help chronic migraine sufferers, Dr. Aurora said, so the study answers a clinically relevant question.
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