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Keywords:

  • migraine;
  • headache;
  • sumatriptan

Background.—The introduction of oral sumatriptan in the United States at doses of 25 and 50 mg, compared with 100-mg tablets worldwide, has created the need to develop a protocol for appropriate dosing.

Methods.—We evaluated the first 104 patients in our practice to treat two migraine attacks with oral sumatriptan. For their first treatment with oral sumatriptan, patients were evaluated on their response to 25-mg tablets and the total number of tablets taken. For their second treatment, patients were evaluated on their response to sumatriptan, number of 25-mg tablets taken, and dosage prescribed for future migraines.

Results.—

Table 1. Response to Treatment and Number of 25-mg Tablets Taken
 Response to Treatment, No. (%) of Patients
 GoodFairPoor1234
First headache51 (55)19 (21)22 (24)35 (34)64 (62)4 (4)1 (1)
Second headache70 (78)12 (13)8 (9)28 (28)51 (51)3 (3)18 (18)

After the second treatment, 41 patients (40%) continued therapy with 25-mg tablets, 54 (53%) were prescribed 50-mg tablets, 2 patients (2%) were prescribed two 50-mg tablets, and 5 patients (5%) were prescribed injectable sumatriptan. Seventy patients had previously used injectable sumatriptan, while 34 had not previously used sumatriptan. There were no significant differences in their response to oral sumatriptan.

Conclusion.—Oral sumatriptan was effective in clinical practice at doses of 25 and 50 mg. The majority of patients required more than one 25-mg tablet for a migraine attack, reflecting both inadequacy of dosing for some migraines and recurrence of headache, yet 40% of patients continued on treatment with 25-mg tablets. There were no significant differences in response to therapy in patients being switched from injectable to oral sumatriptan compared with those initiating therapy with oral sumatriptan. Both tablet strengths of oral sumatriptan are useful in clinical practice.