Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research

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Dispensing patterns of antimigraine agents with a focus on seasonal variations in prescribing

Ilse Truter, Bernadette Louwrens, Theunis J van W Kotze


Purpose: To determine the dispensing patterns of antimigraine agents in a private healthcare setting, focusing on seasonal variations in prescribing.
Methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional drug utilization study was conducted using a South African medical insurance scheme administrator database for 2016. The database contained 3 567 170 records for medicines, medical devices and procedures. All products in MIMS category 1.9 (antimigraine agents) were analysed.
Results: A total of 914 antimigraine products were dispensed to 505 patients (69.70 % females) at a cost of US$10,988.63. The average age of patients was 41.57 (SD = 13.77) years. Of the eight active ingredients, clonidine was the most often dispensed (34.68 %), followed by rizatriptan (28.01 %) and ergotamine (26.04 %). Prescribing peaks were observed in February to April 2016, and again in October. These months coincide with the change in seasons to winter and to summer, respectively, in South Africa.
Conclusion: The sample size was too small to make definite conclusions, but it seems that prescribing of antimigraine agents reaches a peak during seasonal change specifically autumn and spring, confirming that weather is a possible trigger factor in migraine.

Keywords: Migraine, Antimigraine agents, Trigger factors, Environmental, Weather, Seasonal, Prescribing patterns, Rizatriptan

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