Predictive models for determining treatment response to nonprescription acute medications in migraine: Results from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study

Ali Ezzati, Kristina M. Fanning, Dawn C. Buse, Jelena M. Pavlovic, Cynthia E. Armand, Michael L. Reed, Vincent T. Martin, Richard B. Lipton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify predictors of acute treatment response for nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medications among people with migraine and develop improved models for predicting treatment response. Background: Pain freedom and sustained pain relief are important priorities in the acute treatment of migraine. OTC medications are widely used for migraine; however, it is not clear which treatment works best for each patient without going through the trial and error process. Methods: A prediction model development study was completed using the 2006 American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study survey, from participants who were aged ≥18, met criteria and headache day frequency for episodic migraine, did not take prescription medication for migraine, and used ≥1 of the following acute migraine medication classes: acetaminophen, aspirin, NSAIDs, or caffeine containing combination products (CCP). Two items from the Migraine Treatment Optimization Questionnaire were used to evaluate treatment response, adequate 2-h pain freedom (2hPF) and 24-h pain relief (24hPR), which were defined by a response to treatment ≥half the time at 2 h and 24 h post treatment, respectively. We identified predictors of adequate treatment response and developed models to predict probability of treatment response to each medication class. Results: The sample included 3852 participants (3038 [79.0%] females) with an average age of 45.0 years (SD = 12.8). Only 1602/3852 (41.6%) and 1718/3852 (44.6%) of the participants reported adequate 2hPF and 24hPR, respectively. Adequate treatment-response was significantly predicted by lower average headache pain intensity, less cutaneous allodynia, and lower depressive symptom scores. Lower migraine symptom severity was predictive of adequate 2hPF and fewer monthly headache days was predictive of adequate 24hPR. Among participants reporting OTC monotherapy (n = 2168, 56.3%) individuals taking CCP were more likely to have adequate 2hPF (OR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.23–1.95) and 24hPR (OR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.18–1.88) in comparison with those taking acetaminophen. Predictive models were modestly predictive of responders to OTC medications (c-statistics = 0.65; 95% CI 0.62–0.68). Conclusion: These results show that response to acute migraine treatments is not optimized in the majority of people with migraine treating with OTC medications. Predictive models can improve our ability to choose the best therapeutic option for individuals with episodic migraine and increase the proportion of patients with optimized response to treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-765
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • digital support tools
  • episodic migraine
  • pain relief
  • predictive models
  • treatment optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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