Unmet Acute Treatment Needs From the 2017 Migraine in America Symptoms and Treatment Study

Richard B. Lipton, Sagar Munjal, Dawn C. Buse, Aftab Alam, Kristina M. Fanning, Michael L. Reed, Todd J. Schwedt, David W. Dodick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objectives: To characterize unmet treatment needs in a sample of Migraine in America Symptoms and Treatment (MAST) Study participants using oral, acute prescription migraine medications. Background: The MAST Study is a 2017 study of US adults with migraine that profiles current treatment patterns and identifies and quantifies unmet treatment needs. Methods: Cross-sectional data from an online survey of US adults meeting ICHD-3 beta criteria for migraine. For inclusion in this paper, respondents self-reported a history of 3 or more monthly headache days (MHDs) in the past 3 months and at least 1 MHD in the past 30 days, and current use of orally administered acute prescription medication for headache. Three domains of unmet need were identified: inadequate treatment response (ie, inadequate 2-hour pain freedom, recurrence within 24 hours of initial relief), demanding attack characteristics (rapid onset of attack, headache associated with sleep), and unique patient characteristics (opioid or barbiturate overuse, cardiovascular comorbidity). Sociodemographics, oral medication use, and coexisting conditions and symptoms (ie, level of treatment optimization, psychological symptoms, attack-related cutaneous allodynia, and migraine symptom severity) were assessed for each domain and by the number of unmet need domains. Results: Overall, 15,133 respondents met inclusion criteria, 26.0% (3930/15,133) reported current use of oral acute prescription medication to treat headache. Eligible participants had a mean age of 45.0 years, 73.6% [2892/3930] were women and 81.1% [3186/3930]) were White. A total of 95.8% (3765/3930) of respondents had at least 1 unmet acute treatment need; 89.5% (3516/3930) reported demanding attack characteristics, 74.1% (2912/3930) reported inadequate treatment response, and 16.1% (634/3930) presented with unique patient characteristics. Common areas of unmet need were rapid headache onset (65.3% [2567/3930]), moderate to severe disability (55.6% [2187/3930]), inadequate 2-hours pain freedom (49.0% [1892/3930]), and headache recurrence within 24 hours (38.0% [1493/3930]). An increasing number of unmet treatment need domains was associated with worsening psychological symptoms, attack-related cutaneous allodynia and migraine symptom severity. Conclusion: Nearly all MAST Study respondents using acute oral prescription medications for migraine reported at least 1 unmet treatment need. As unmet needs increased, so did coexisting conditions and symptom severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1310-1323
Number of pages14
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • acute treatment
  • epidemiology
  • migraine
  • unmet needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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