Double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-finding study of rizatriptan (MK-462) in the acute treatment of migraine


Mark S. Kramer, Merck Research Laboratories BL 2-5, PO Box 4, West Point,PA 19486, USA. Tel. 1 610 397 2606, fax. 1 61 397 2740.


Rizatriptan (MK-462) is a potent 5HTID receptor agonist. This multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, outpatient study investigated the clinical elficacy, safety, and tolerability of rizatriptan (2.5, 5, and 10 mg) as a function of dose for acute migraine. Fatients with moderate or severe migraine (n=417) were treated with placebo (n=67), rizatriptan 2.5 mg (n=75), 5 mg (n=130), or rizatriptan 10 mg (n=145). Headache severity, functional disability, and migraine symptoms were measured immediately before dosing (0) and at 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, and 4 h post-dose. Patients were permitted to take a second dose of test drug at 2 h if their headache pain was moderate or severe (i.e , placebo initiallyrizatriptan 10 mg as optional second dose; rizatriptan 2.5 mg, 5 mg, or 10 mg initiallyplacebo as optional second dose). An upward dose-response relationship was observed among placebo rizatriptan 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg in the primary efficacy measure of proportion of patients reporting pain relief, i.e., a change in headache severity to “no pain or mild pain” at 2 h post-dose. The relationship was evident even at the first recorded timepoint, 30 min, and was statistically significant at 1.5 h and beyond. At the primary timepoint of 2 h after the initial dose, the proportion of patients reporting pain relief was 47.6% for rizatriptan 10 mg; 45.4% for rizatriptan 5 mg; 21.3% for rizatriptan 2.5 mg; and 17.9% for pacebo. Seventy percent of patients on rizatriptan 10 mg reported pain relief at 4 h. Patients who took rizatriptan 5 mg and 10 mg were significantly less functionally disabled than those who took placebo at 1.5 and 2n post-dose. Rizatriptan 10 mg was consistently more effective than 5 mg, although the differences were not statistically significant. The most frequent clinical adverse events were dizziness, somnolence, and asthenia/fatigue. No patients were discontinued for any adverse experiences and there were no serious adverse experiences.