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Spotlight on almotriptan in migraine.

Author(s): Keam SJ, Goa KL, Figgitt DP

Affiliation(s): Adis International Limited, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, New Zealand. demail@adis.co.nz

Publication date & source: 2002, CNS Drugs., 16(7):501-7.

Publication type: Review

Almotriptan is a selective serotonin 5-HT(1B/1D) receptor agonist ('triptan'). Its efficacy and tolerability have been assessed in a number of randomised, controlled trials in over 4800 adults with moderate or severe attacks of migraine. Oral almotriptan has a rapid onset of action (significant headache relief is observed 0.5 hours after administration of a 12.5mg dose) and efficacy is sustained in most patients who respond by 2 hours. The drug is significantly more effective than placebo as measured by a number of parameters including 2-hour headache response and pain-free response rates. Other symptoms of migraine, including nausea, photophobia and phonophobia, are also alleviated by almotriptan. The efficacy of oral almotriptan appears to be maintained over repeated doses for multiple attacks of migraine treated over a long period (up to 1 year). High headache response rates were reported over all attacks without tachyphylaxis. For the relief of single attacks of migraine, oral almotriptan 12.5mg had similar efficacy to oral sumatriptan 50mg. Patients given almotriptan report less concern with adverse effects than patients given sumatriptan. The lower incidence of chest pain following treatment with almotriptan than with sumatriptan may lead to a reduction in direct costs, with fewer patients requiring management of chest pain. Almotriptan is well tolerated. Most adverse events were of mild or moderate intensity, transient and generally resolved without intervention or the need for treatment withdrawal. The most common adverse events associated with oral almotriptan 12.5mg treatment were dizziness, paraesthesia, nausea, fatigue, headache, somnolence, skeletal pain, vomiting and chest symptoms. The incidence of adverse events did not differ from placebo and decreased in the longer term. Almotriptan can be coadministered with drugs that share a common hepatic metabolic path; in addition, dosage reduction is required only in the presence of severe renal or hepatic impairment. CONCLUSIONS: Almotriptan is an effective drug for the acute treatment of moderate or severe attacks of migraine in adults. An oral dose of almotriptan 12.5mg has shown greater efficacy than placebo; current data indicate that efficacy is similar to that of oral sumatriptan 50mg, and is maintained in the long term (< or = 1 year). Almotriptan has a good adverse event profile and a generally similar overall tolerability profile to sumatriptan; of note, almotriptan is associated with a significantly lower incidence of chest pain than sumatriptan. However, further clinical experience is required to clearly define the place of almotriptan among the other currently available triptans. Nevertheless, because triptans have an important place in various management regimens, and because the nature of individual patient response to triptans is idiosyncratic, almotriptan is likely to become a useful treatment option in the management of adults with moderate or severe migraine headaches.

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