Triptan use in Italy: Insights from administrative databases

Roberto Da Cas, Anna Nigro, Salvatore Terrazzino, Grazia Sances, Michele Viana, Cristina Tassorelli, Giuseppe Nappi, Sarah Cargnin, Alessia Pisterna, Giuseppe Traversa, Armando A. Genazzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: In this drug utilization study, we aimed at assessing the pattern of triptan use in Italy by means of the drug prescription databases of two local health authorities, accounting for approximately 1 million citizens. Methods: The study population included all residents aged 18 to 84 years in the Vercelli province (about 175,000 inhabitants) and in the Umbria region (about 885,000 inhabitants), who had at least one dispensation for triptans in 2012. A frequent user, who might be at risk of medication-overuse headache (MOH), was defined as a patient being dispensed at least 10 defined daily doses (DDD) of triptans every month for at least three consecutive months. Results: Triptans were used by 0.7%1% of the population. While most patients were dispensed fewer than 60 DDDs per year, about 10% of all triptan users were classified as frequent users. In both areas, patients below the age of 29 were less likely to be frequent users while the 40- to 49-year-old population was the most affected, with no sex difference. About two-thirds of frequent users persisted in this behavior for an additional three-month period in the following six months. Conclusions: Our data indicate that approximately 10% of all triptan users in the Italian population are potentially at risk for MOH. An approach based on drug prescription databases could be useful to identify patients at risk for MOH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-626
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 4 2015


  • medication-overuse headache
  • Migraine
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • prescription data
  • triptans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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    Da Cas, R., Nigro, A., Terrazzino, S., Sances, G., Viana, M., Tassorelli, C., Nappi, G., Cargnin, S., Pisterna, A., Traversa, G., & Genazzani, A. A. (2015). Triptan use in Italy: Insights from administrative databases. Cephalalgia, 35(7), 619-626.