OBJECTIVE: Impaired performance, which can considerably impact employee output, occurs when employees attempt to continue work with inadequate treatment while experiencing a migraine episode. This analysis examined productivity loss as a result of migraine after treatment with sumatriptan tablets and patients' usual non-triptan therapy when pain was mild (early intervention) versus when pain was moderate/severe. METHODS: The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of data on 6803 migraine days reported by 251 subjects who participated in a clinical trial. RESULTS: Although early intervention significantly reduced productivity loss compared with treatment when pain was moderate/severe for both sumatriptan and non-triptan therapy, productivity loss was consistently lower for sumatriptan than non-triptan therapy for all predose pain intensity levels. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the pharmaco-economic benefits of early intervention with sumatriptan tablets, like the clinical benefits, exceed those of delayed intervention.