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Effectiveness of eletriptan in acute migraine: primary care for Excedrin nonresponders.

Author(s): Diamond ML, Hettiarachchi J, Hilliard B, Sands G, Nett R

Affiliation(s): Diamond Headache Clinic, Chicago, Ill 60614, USA.

Publication date & source: 2004-03, Headache., 44(3):209-16.

Publication type: Clinical Trial

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of eletriptan as a treatment for acute migraine in patients who were poor responders to Excedrin and had not yet been exposed to a triptan. BACKGROUND: Self-medication with over-the-counter drugs, such as Excedrin, is the most common treatment for migraine. Guidelines, however, recommend that triptans be used as first-line treatment of moderate to severe migraine--the severity affecting approximately 80% of migraineurs. Since over-the-counter medications, such as Excedrin, continue to be used in many patients, it is important that clinicians have information on the efficacy of triptans as first-line treatment and on treatment of migraineurs who have shown poor response to over-the-counter medications. METHODS: One hundred ten patients meeting criteria for migraine who were poor responders to Excedrin received open-label treatment with a 40-mg dose of eletriptan for one migraine attack. Efficacy assessments were made at 1, 2, 4, and 24 hours postdose and consisted of headache and pain-free response rates, absence of associated symptoms, and functional response. RESULTS: At 1 hour, the headache response rate was 44%; at 2 hours, 81%. The pain-free response rate at 1 hour was 14% and at 2 hours, 48%. At 2 hours, relief of baseline-associated symptoms ranged from 74% to 80%. Functional response was achieved by 82% of patients by 2 hours, and 68% of patients achieved relief of migraine that was sustained across 24 hours with no need for a second dose of eletriptan or for rescue medication. Eletriptan was well tolerated with adverse events being transient and mild to moderate in intensity. CONCLUSION: Previous studies have established the efficacy of eletriptan as a first-line treatment for migraine. The results of this open-label trial demonstrate that the 40-mg dose of eletriptan had a high degree of efficacy and tolerability among patients who were poor responders to Excedrin.

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