Behavioral Treatment for Chronic Migraine Is a Cost Effective Alternative

Behavioral chronic migraine treatment such as relaxation training, hypnosis and biofeedback makes financial sense in comparison to prescription medication, particularly after a year or longer. The costs of prescription medications, the type chronic migraine sufferers use on a daily basis in order to prevent onset, might not appear to be much even at a few dollars per day. However, those costs keep accumulating with more doctor visits and additional prescriptions. With behavioral chronic migraine treatment there are several treatment sessions and then the benefits last for years.

The research compared the costs over a time period of a number of kinds of behavioral chronic migraine treatments with prescription medication treatments. The study discovered that after half a year, minimal contact behavioral chronic migraine treatment was competitively priced with pharmacologic treatments making use of medications costing 50 cents or less daily. Minimal contact treatment is when an individual sees a therapist several times but mostly practices the behavioral techniques from home, assisted by literature or audio recordings.[1]

After a year, the minimal contact method was almost $500 cheaper than pharmacologic treatment. There are plenty of behavioral chronic migraine treatments and their effectiveness has been confirmed, but people are under the impression that behavioral treatment is expensive. The efficacy of methods was not compared in the study, nor were the costs over time of individual drugs calculated, as dosages and prices vary widely. Instead, the daily costs of each method according to fees of physicians and psychologists were determined. For the physician group, the cost of prescription beta-blocker medications at various prices was added in.

From the psychologists interviewed, one-on-one behavioral sessions cost from $70 to $250 for the intake consultation and $65 to $200 for follow-up consultations. That placed the average intake cost at $175 and average follow-up cost at $125 for an average 10 visits.The average cost of pharmacologic approaches was calculated at $250 for the intake consultation and a professional fee of $140 per consultation. Average time to the 1st follow-up was 52.2 days, increasing to 60 for the 2nd with a average 5 visits annually.

Individual consultations with a psychologist in clinic, the most costly behavioral treatment method, cost more than pharmacologic treatment with $6-a-day drugs in the first months. But at about 5 months, individual consultations become competitive. After a year, they are cheaper than all methods other than treatment with drugs costing 50 cents or less a day. All round, group therapy and minimal-contact behavioral treatment were competitively priced with even the cheapest medication treatment in the initial months. At 1 year, they become the least expensive headache treatment option.

Migraines and Headaches Chart


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