Background.—Results from open-label trials with almotriptan and sumatriptan have shown higher response rates when treatment was initiated early after acute migraine onset.
Objective.—To investigate the temporal component of early intervention by measuring 2-hour pain-free and sustained pain-free responses to almotriptan and sumatriptan when the study drug was taken within 1 hour of onset of moderate to severe pain.
Methods.—This was a post hoc analysis from a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of almotriptan and sumatriptan. Men and women, 18 to 65 years of age, who met International Headache Society criteria for migraine with or without aura were eligible. Patients were randomized to receive a single oral dose of almotriptan 12.5 or 25 mg, sumatriptan 100 mg, or placebo at the onset of a severe or moderate migraine attack. For this post hoc analysis, the almotriptan 25-mg dose was excluded because 12.5 mg is the recommended dose. The primary efficacy assessment was sustained pain-free, defined as pain-free at 2 hours postdose with no recurrence from 2 to 24 hours and no use of rescue medication. Only patients who took study medication within 1 hour of migraine onset were included in the analysis.
Results.—Of the 475 patients involved in the original study, 253 (53.3%) initiated treatment within the 0- to 1-hour interval. For these patients, 2-hour pain-free rates were 37.9% for almotriptan 12.5 mg (P= .016 versus placebo), 35.7% for sumatriptan 100 mg (P= .028 versus placebo), and 18.9% for placebo. Only almotriptan was significantly higher than placebo on the sustained pain-free rate—34.7% (P= .022 versus placebo); the sustained pain-free rate for sumatriptan was 29.6% and for placebo, 17.0%.
Conclusion.—Initiation of treatment with almotriptan 12.5 mg within the first hour after acute migraine onset resulted in a significantly higher sustained pain-free response compared with placebo. There was no significant difference in sustained pain-free rates between sumatriptan and placebo. These results are consistent with those from a previous open-label trial, and suggest that early intervention with almotriptan can improve clinical outcome.