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Oral almotriptan vs. oral sumatriptan in the abortive treatment of migraine: a double-blind, randomized, parallel-group, optimum-dose comparison.

Author(s): Spierings EL, Gomez-Mancilla B, Grosz DE, Rowland CR, Whaley FS, Jirgens KJ

Affiliation(s): 25 Walnut St, Suite 102, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481-2106, USA. Spierings@MediaOne.net

Publication date & source: 2001-06, Arch Neurol., 58(6):944-50.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Almotriptan malate is a novel, selective serotonin(1B/D) agonist, or triptan, developed for the abortive treatment of migraine. In double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, it has been shown to be effective, well tolerated, and safe. OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of almotriptan with that of the "standard triptan," sumatriptan succinate. The power calculation of the study was based on 24-hour headache recurrence, an efficacy measure in the abortive treatment of migraine, and on the occurrence of adverse events. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Subjects, aged between18 and 65 years, with migraine with or without aura but otherwise healthy, were randomized to take orally either almotriptan malate, 12.5 mg, or sumatriptan succinate, 50 mg. The medications were provided in identical-looking capsules to ensure blinding and were taken for the treatment of moderate or severe headache. Efficacy was determined in terms of (1) headache relief-a decrease in pain intensity to mild or no pain; (2) headache freedom-a decrease to no pain; (3) use of rescue medications, allowed after 2 hours; and (4) headache recurrence-moderate or severe pain returning within 24 hours after headache relief at 2 hours. Adverse events were collected for 96 hours after treatment and for safety evaluation, vital signs, blood tests, and electrocardiograms were performed at the screening and exit visits. RESULTS: Seventy-five investigators enrolled 1255 subjects of whom 1173 were treated (591 with almotriptan and 582 with sumatriptan). At 2 hours, almotriptan treatment provided headache relief in 58.0% of the subjects and sumatriptan treatment in 57.3%; headache freedom was provided by the medications in 17.9% and 24.6%, respectively (P =.005). Rescue medications were taken by 36.7% of the subjects in the almotriptan-treated group and by 33.2% in the sumatriptan-treated group; headaches returned to moderate or severe intensity in 27.4% and 24.0%, respectively. Treatment-emergent adverse events occurred in 15.2% of the subjects in the almotriptan-treated group and in 19.4% in the sumatriptan-treated group (P =.06); treatment-related adverse events occurred in 9.1% and 15.5% of the subjects, respectively (P =.001), including chest pain, which occurred in 0.3% and 2.2%, respectively (P =.004). CONCLUSIONS: Almotriptan and sumatriptan are similarly effective in the abortive treatment of moderate or severe migraine headache; they are also similarly well tolerated and safe.

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