Doctor speaks out about insurance limiting triptan Migraine medications

Patient Expert

If you use triptans (Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, Amerge, Relpax, Axert, Frova) and have insurance, you may very well have run into insurance coverage limits on how many doses are covered per month. For quite some time, the average seemed to be nine doses. Now, many insurance companies are lowering the limits to 4-6 doses per month.

The editorial section of the Providence Journal carried a wonderful piece yesterday by Migraine specialist Dr. Gary L'Europa, "Stop limiting migraine medicine." The piece begins...

"MIGRAINE: It's the Rodney Dangerfield of diseases.

I tell ya, I don't get no respect.

I get two migraines a week. I use about 16 pills a month. The other day, my insurance company called me and said, "Rodney, from now on we're only allowing 4 pills per month." I said, "I need 16." They said, "Cut them in quarters." I tell ya, I don't get no respect.

Unfortunately, United Healthcare's newly proposed policy of limiting migraine medications to four pills a month is no laughing matter. Put yourself in the place of a migraine sufferer.

Migraine is a real disease with distinct phases..."

Please do take a few minutes to go read the rest of Stop limiting migraine medicine.

Limiting triptans is beyond absurd. It's counter productive, inane, and cruel. Many Migraineurs, when faced with a Migraine and no triptans, end up in the emergency room. Ever pay an emergency room bill? The cost of a reasonable month's supply of triptans costs far less than a single ER visit. Duh! Maybe part of the problem is that many insurance plans have two parts -- medical care and prescription coverage. The people managing the prescription coverage don't care about ER payments because that's a different budget.

Whatever the problem is, it need to be resolved. Thank you, Dr. L'Europa, for speaking out!