Comparison of Triptan Tablet Consumption per Attack: A Prospective Study of Migraineurs in Spain


Address all correspondence to Dr. Arturo López-Gil, Departamento Médico, MSD España, c/Josefa Valcárcel 38, 28027 Madrid, Spain.


Objectives.—To compare patient self-reported tablet consumption of rizatriptan 10 mg per attack (24 hours) with that of sumatriptan 50 mg, zolmitriptan 2.5 mg, and naratriptan 2.5 mg on an unselected, prescription-based, Spanish migraine population.

Methods.—One hundred twenty community pharmacies recruited patients with migraine, who used their pharmacies, to fill a triptan prescription. In diaries, patients recorded baseline pain intensity and the number of triptan tablets and additional medication taken per attack. Patients treated a maximum of three attacks. Analysis of variance or the Student t test and chi-square or Fisher exact tests were used for univariate comparisons. Hochberg corrections were used for multiple-group comparisons. A generalized estimating equation method was used to correct for within-subject correlation. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results.—Two hundred thirty-one patients (84% women) treated 589 evaluable migraine attacks (sumatriptan, n = 135; naratriptan, n = 90; zolmitriptan, n = 149; rizatriptan, n = 149). Triptan tablet consumption per attack (mean ± SD) for rizatriptan (1.24 ± 0.56) was significantly lower than that of sumatriptan (1.75 ± 1.2; P  <  .05), zolmitriptan (1.61 ± 0.86; P  <  .05), or naratriptan (1.46 ± 0.62; P = .05). The average number of triptan tablets taken and additional medication use increased according to baseline pain severity. More attacks were treated with one tablet of rizatriptan (81.2%) than with one tablet of sumatriptan (51.9%), zolmitriptan (55.7%), or naratriptan (60%). The probability of using more than one triptan tablet per attack (24 hours) was more than three times greater for sumatriptan (adjusted OR = 3.71; CI, 2.05 to 6.7; P = .001) and zolmitriptan (adjusted OR = 3.32; CI, 1.82 to 6.17; P = .001), and more than two times greater for naratriptan (adjusted OR = 2.66; CI, 1.36 to 5.21; P = .004) than for rizatriptan.

Conclusions.—Rizatriptan was associated with significantly lower triptan tablet use and additional medication use per attack than the other triptans. Additional randomized studies are needed to confirm the conclusions of this study.