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Pharmacology and efficacy of eletriptan for the treatment of migraine attacks.

Author(s): Diener HC, McHarg A

Affiliation(s): Department of Neurology, University of Essen, Hufelandstrasse 55, 45122 Essen, Germany.

Publication date & source: 2000-12, Int J Clin Pract., 54(10):670-4.

Sumatriptan, a 5-HT 1B/1D agonist, was introduced 10 years ago and was the most effective therapy for migraine attacks at that time. Eletriptan is a new 5-HT 1B/1D agonist with high potency and selectivity at 5-HT 1B/1D receptors. It is effective in animal models in which the vascular and neurogenic mechanisms implicated in migraine were measured. Eletriptan is selective for the intracranial blood vessels over other extracranial vasculature, in particular coronary arteries. Eletriptan has a rapid and complete oral absorption and a good oral bioavailability in migraineurs. In comparative trials 20 mg, 40 mg and 80 mg eletriptan, 100 mg sumatritpan and placebo were compared for the treatment of migraine attacks. All three doses of eletriptan were statistically superior to placebo for headache response and headache-free patients. The 80 mg dose of eletriptan was also superior to sumatriptan 100 mg. Headache recurrence, defined as return of moderate or severe headache within 24 hours of dosing and following a headache response at two hours after initial dosing, occurred in 33% of the patients following 100 mg sumatriptan and in 28%, 34% and 32% after 20 mg, 40 mg and 80 mg eletriptan. In another large trial, headache response rates were significantly higher for both doses of eletriptan (64% for 40 mg and 67% for 80 mg) than for two doses of sumatriptan (50% for 50 mg and 53% for 100 mg). Eletriptan 40 mg or 80 mg was also superior to ergotamine plus caffeine (Cafergot). In summary, eletriptan is a highly effective and fast-acting drug for the treatment of acute migraine attacks.

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