Treatment of Mild Headache in Disabled Migraine Sufferers: Results of the Spectrum Study


  • Presented in part at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, Toronto, ON, Canada, April 17-24, 1999.

Address all correspondence to Dr. Roger K. Cady, Headache Care Center, 1230 East Kingsley, Springfield, MO 65804.


Objective.—To evaluate the effectiveness of sumatriptan, 50-mg tablets, versus placebo for early intervention while head pain was mild in patients with disabling migraine.

Methods.—A post hoc analysis was performed in a subgroup of patients from a large, randomized, placebo-controlled study of patients with disabling headache who treated while pain was mild. Pain-free response 2 and 4 hours postdose, headache recurrence, and safety were examined. Significance tests were performed only for the first-treated attacks.

Results.—Twenty-six patients with disabling headache treated 46 mild and 166 moderate or severe headaches. For the first-treated headaches while pain was mild, pain-free rates were significantly higher for sumatriptan than placebo 4 hours postdose (78% versus 0%, P = .02), but not 2 hours postdose (52% versus 0%, P = .22). Across all headaches treated while pain was mild, pain-free responses were higher for sumatriptan than placebo 4 hours (85% versus 17%) and 2 hours (50% versus 0%) postdose compared with placebo. When the same patients treated headaches while pain was moderate or severe, pain-free rates were lower than that reported for treatment during mild pain. There was a trend toward lower headache recurrence in headaches treated while pain was mild compared with moderate or severe pain (13% versus 18%). No drug-related adverse events were reported in the headaches treated while pain was mild.

Conclusions.—Patients with disabling migraine may benefit from early intervention with sumatriptan, 50 mg, while pain is mild.