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Keywords:

  • clinical trial;
  • menstrually related migraine;
  • naratriptan

The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of orally administered 2.5 mg naratriptan in the treatment of menstrually related migraine (MRM). A high percentage of women suffering from migraine report increased frequency of attacks in association with menstruation that may be more severe, of longer duration and more difficult to treat than at other times. This was a phase IIIb, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Subjects were given either 2.5 mg naratriptan or placebo to treat a single MRM episode, defined as starting between days −2 and +4 relative to the start of menstruation. The primary efficacy measure was the percentage of subjects who were free of pain 4 h after treatment, the absence of pain at 30 min, 1 and 2 h being secondary efficacy measures. Other secondary measures were the absence of associated symptoms, sustained headache relief 24 h after a single dose of the study medication, recourse to a second dose of study medication or escape medication, pain intensity 4–24 h after first treatment, the ability to carry out work or daily activities, and patient satisfaction. Adverse events were also monitored. A total of 275 women were enrolled in the trial and 229 (115 naratriptan group, 114 placebo group) provided data on the effects of the study medication on MRM. A higher percentage of subjects in the naratriptan group (58%) reported complete pain relief 4 h after medication than in the placebo group (30%) (P < 0.001). Significant differences between the naratriptan and placebo groups and in favor of naratriptan were also found for: total pain relief at 2 h (P = 0.004), sustained pain-free response within 4–24 h (P < 0.001), absence of all associated symptoms at 2 and 4 h (P = 0.004), ability to work and carry out daily activities at 2 h (P = 0.036), and patient overall satisfaction (P < 0.001). Three adverse events were recorded that might potentially be attributable to naratriptan. Naratriptan given orally at a dose of 2.5 mg is effective in the acute treatment of MRM as early as 2 h after treatment.