Tolerability and Safety of Frovatriptan With Short- and Long-term Use for Treatment of Migraine and in Comparison With Sumatriptan


Address all correspondence to Dr. Charlotte Keywood, Vernalis Ltd, Oakdene Court, 613 Reading Road, Winnersh, Wokingham, Berkshire RG41 5UA, UK.


Objective.—To evaluate the tolerability and safety of frovatriptan 2.5 mg in patients with migraine.

Background.—Frovatriptan is a new, selective serotonin agonist (triptan) developed for the acute treatment of migraine. Dose range-finding studies identified 2.5 mg as the dose that conferred the optimal combination of efficacy and tolerability.

Methods.—The tolerability and safety of frovatriptan 2.5 mg were assessed during controlled, acute migraine treatment studies, including a study that compared frovatriptan 2.5 mg with sumatriptan 100 mg, as well as a 12-month open-label study during which patients could take up to three doses of frovatriptan 2.5 mg within a 24-hour period. Safety and tolerability were assessed through the collection of adverse events, monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure performance of 12-lead electrocardiogram, hematology screen, and blood chemistry studies.

Results.—In the short-term studies, 1554 patients took frovatriptan 2.5 mg and 838 took placebo. In the 12-month study, 496 patients treated 13  878 migraine attacks. Frovatriptan was well tolerated in the short- and long-term studies with 1% of patients in the short-term studies and 5% of patients in the long-term study withdrawing due to lack of tolerability. The incidence of adverse events was higher in the frovatriptan-treated patients than in the patients who took placebo (47% versus 34%) and the spectrum of adverse events was similar. When compared to sumatriptan 100 mg, significantly fewer patients taking frovatriptan experienced adverse events (43% versus 36%; P=.03) and the number of adverse events was lower (0.62 versus 0.91), there were also fewer adverse events suggestive of cardiovascular symptoms in the frovatriptan group. Analysis of the entire clinical database (n=2392) demonstrated that frovatriptan was well tolerated by the patients regardless of their age, gender, race, concomitant medication, or the presence of cardiovascular risk factors. No effects of frovatriptan on heart rate, blood pressure, 12-lead electrocardiogram, hematology screen, or blood chemistry were observed. No patient suffered any treatment-related serious adverse event.

Conclusions.—Short- and long-term use of frovatriptan 2.5 mg was well tolerated by a wide variety of patients. Frovatriptan treatment produced an adverse events profile similar to that of placebo, and in a direct comparison study was better tolerated than sumatriptan 100 mg.