• migraine;
  • menstrual migraine;
  • triptans;
  • headache;
  • onset of action;
  • zolmitriptan

Background.—Approximately 60% of female migraineurs report experiencing migraine in association with menstruation, while 7% to 25% experience attacks almost exclusively with menstruation.

Objective.—To examine the efficacy and tolerability of oral zolmitriptan in the acute treatment of menstrually associated migraine. In this study, menstrually associated migraine was defined as migraine that consistently occurred from 72 hours before to 5 days after onset of menses.

Methods.—Participants were women with regular menstrual cycles, aged 18 to 55 years, who had experienced migraine with at least two thirds of prior menstrual cycles. Subjects were randomized to treat one attack per menstrual cycle for 3 months with either zolmitriptan or placebo. Treatment was intensity based: mild migraines were treated with half of a 2.5-mg zolmitriptan tablet, moderate migraines were treated with zolmitriptan 2.5 mg, and severe migraines were treated with 5 mg (two 2.5-mg tablets) of zolmitriptan, or placebo.

Results.—Of the 579 women enrolled in the study, 260 were treated with zolmitriptan and 251 were assigned placebo. Twelve hundred thirty-two attacks were treated, and a 2-hour headache response was achieved in 48% of zolmitriptan-treated attacks as compared with 27% of placebo-assigned attacks (P < .0001). Zolmitriptan was superior to placebo in achieving a headache response as early as 30 minutes (18% versus 14%, P= .03) and at 1 hour (33% versus 23%, P < .001). Drug-related adverse events were reported in 16% of subjects receiving zolmitriptan and 9% of subjects receiving placebo.

Conclusion.—Oral zolmitriptan exhibits efficacy and good tolerability in the treatment of menstrually associated migraine. Improvement over placebo was observed as early as 30 minutes following treatment.