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Keywords:

  • Eletriptan;
  • Sumatriptan;
  • migraine pain relief;
  • dose–response;
  • meta-analysis;
  • encapsulation

A novel model-based meta-analysis was used to quantify the dose–response relationship of sumatriptan and eletriptan for the proportion of patients that achieve migraine pain relief up to 4 h after treatment. The proportion of patients that became pain free was also evaluated. This analysis includes some unique features, allowing comparison of sumatriptan and eletriptan doses that have not been directly compared in a head to head study and also permitting comparison between the two drugs at multiple time points up to 4 h after treatment. Because the analysis allows comparison of response to blinded sumatriptan with that to marketed sumatriptan and contains timepoints as early as 0.5 h, it is especially suited to detection of possible effects of encapsulation on sumatriptan's therapeutic effectiveness and thus was employed to assess this also. Data from 19 randomized placebo controlled clinical trials were jointly analysed using a random-effects logistic regression model. The results of this analysis show a significant clinical benefit of eletriptan 40 mg compared to sumatriptan 100 mg at any point in time up to 4 h after treatment. The benefit of eletriptan 40 mg is greatest around 1.5–2 h after treatment with an absolute difference at 2 h of 9.1% (7.4–11.5%) more patients achieving pain relief and 7.3% (5.8–8.6%) more patient achieving pain free when compared to sumatriptan 100 mg. An absolute benefit of more than 5% of patients is maintained from 45 min up to 4 h after treatment for pain relief and from 1.5 h up to 4 h for pain free. Eletriptan 20 mg was superior to sumatriptan 50 mg and similar to sumatriptan 100 mg for pain relief while it was similar to sumatriptan 50 mg for pain free. The benefit of eletriptan 20 mg when compared to sumatriptan 50 mg is greatest around 1.5–2 h after treatment with an absolute difference at 2 h of 5.0% (2.9–8.1%) more patients achieving pain relief. An absolute benefit of more than 3% of patients was maintained from 1 h up to 3 h after treatment. No significant difference was found between eletriptan 20 mg and sumatriptan 50 mg for the fraction of patients that became pain free. No significant effect of encapsulation of sumatriptan was found on the time course of response up to 4 h after treatment when compared to commercial sumatriptan.