J Orofac Pain 34 (2020), No. 1 24. Jan. 2020
J Orofac Pain 34 (2020), No. 1 (24.01.2020)
Availability of Effective Evidence-Based Symptomatic Treatments for Cluster Headache in the EU Countries- A Survey of the European Headache Alliance and European Headache Federation
Rossi, Paolo / De La Torre, Elena Ruiz / Mitsikostas, Dimos / Di Lorenzo, Cherubino / Palmaro, Aurore
Aims: To assess the reimbursement options and accessibility of three effective medicines for cluster headache (CH) (subcutaneous sumatriptan, oxygen, and zolmitriptan spray) across the European Union (EU).
Methods: A brief survey investigating the availability of symptomatic treatments for CH was sent by email in January 2017 to at least one headache specialist for every single country in the EU.
Results: The questionnaire was completed by 26 headache specialists (93% of the EU countries, representing 99.75% of the European population) and by 10 CH patients representative of patient organizations. Oxygen was reimbursable for 63% of the CH population. Oxygen device was reimbursable for 50% of the CH EU population. Subcutaneous sumatriptan was reimbursable for 66% and was accessible without restrictions for 45% of the CH EU population. Zolmitriptan spray was reimbursable for 23.7% and accessible without restrictions for 30.9% of the CH EU population.
Conclusion: Only 47% of the EU population had unrestricted access to effective CH treatments, with unacceptable inequalities between eastern countries and the rest of Europe. Headache societies and patient associations should pressure European and national health authorities to improve the availability of effective symptomatic treatments for CH.
Keywords: access to care, cluster headache, oxygen, sumatriptan, symptomatic treatment