In this study we compared the efficacy of 1000 mg phenazone with that of placebo in the treatment of acute migraine attacks in a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 208 patients. The main target criterion was the number of patients with a pain reduction from severe or moderate to slight or no pain 2 h after taking the pain medication. The percentage of patients satisfying the main target criterion was 48.6% for phenazone and 27.2% (P < 0.05) for placebo. Freedom from pain after 2 h was reported by 27.6% with phenazone treatment and 13.6% (P < 0.05) with placebo. Compared with placebo, the phenazone treatment also resulted in a significant improvement in the associated migraine symptoms of nausea, phonophobia and photophobia. Of patients treated with phenazone 11.4%, and 5.8% of those treated with placebo reported adverse events. There was no significant difference between the groups with regard to numbers of patients with adverse events. No serious adverse events occurred. The results show that phenazone at a dosage of 1000 mg is effective and well tolerated in the treatment of acute migraine attacks.