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Keywords:

  • non-IHS migraine attack;
  • migrainous disorder;
  • sumatriptan

Objective.—To evaluate the effectiveness of sumatriptan 20 mg via nasal spray and 100-mg tablets in treating migrainous headache in patients without a concomitant migraine diagnosis.

Methods.—We prospectively investigated the efficacy of sumatriptan 20 mg via nasal spray and 100-mg tablets in patients with a history of at least 5 moderate to severe headache attacks lasting 2 to 72 hours that consistently did not meet the International Headache Society (IHS) criteria for migraine or episodic tension-type headache.

Results.—Nineteen headache attacks classifiable as migrainous disorder without aura (IHS 1.7) were evaluated in 13 patients using 20-mg sumatriptan nasal spray within a 10-week period. A 2-point decrease in headache severity on a four-point scale was achieved in 74% (95% confidence interval [CI], 50% to 89%) of the attacks within 2 hours. The pain-free incidence (a reduction in headache severity from moderate or severe to none) was 37% (95% CI, 17% to 63%) after 2 hours. Ten patients completed the second part of the study, taking oral sumatriptan for 14 migrainous attacks: a 2-point decrease in headache severity was achieved in 38% (95% CI, 13% to 71%) of the attacks within 2 hours and in 77% (95% CI, 48% to 92%) within 4 hours.

Conclusion.—This is the first prospective study to show that intranasal or oral sumatriptan may be effective in patients experiencing moderate to severe headache attacks which consistently do not fulfill the IHS criteria for migraine or episodic tension-type headache.