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Rizatriptan 5 mg for the Acute Treatment of Migraine in Adolescents: Results From a Double-Blind, Single-Attack Study and Two Open-Label, Multiple-Attack Studies


  • W. Hester Visser MD, PhD,

  • Paul Winner DO,

  • Kim Strohmaier BS,

  • Meghan Klipfel MS,

  • Yahong Peng PhD,

  • Kathleen McCarroll PhD,

  • Roger Cady MD,

  • Donald Lewis MD,

  • Robert Nett MD,

  • on behalf of the Rizatriptan Protocol 059 and 061 Study Groups

  • From Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA (Dr. Visser, Ms. Strohmaier, Ms. Klipfel, Dr. Peng, Dr. McCarroll); Premier Research Institute, West Palm Beach, FL (Dr. Winner); Headache Care Center, Springfield, MO (Dr. Cady); Monarch Research Associates, Norfolk, VA (Dr. Lewis); and Texas Headache Associates, San Antonio, TX (Dr. Nett).

Address all correspondence to Dr. W. Hester Visser, BL 1-12, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486.


Objective.—To examine the short- and long-term efficacy and tolerability of rizatriptan 5 mg in adolescents with migraine.

Methods.—Two studies were conducted in patients aged 12 to 17 years. The first study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-attack study followed by a randomized, 1-year, open-label extension. The second study was a randomized, 1-year, open-label study. In the single-attack study, patients treated a moderate or severe migraine headache and up to two recurrences with rizatriptan 5-mg tablets (n = 234) or placebo (n = 242). Patients were instructed to use the study medication only on nonschool days. Headache severity, associated symptoms, and functional disability were assessed by the patient at 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, and 4 hours after the initial dose. In the 1-year studies, patients treated up to 6 migraine attacks per month with rizatriptan 5-mg tablets (n = 273), rizatriptan 5-mg wafers (n = 281), or standard care therapy (n = 132). Headache severity was assessed by the patient at 2 hours after the initial dose. In all studies, the primary efficacy measure was pain relief at 2 hours post dose.

Results.—In the single-attack study, the proportion of patients with pain relief at 2 hours was not significantly different between rizatriptan 5 mg (68.2%) and placebo (68.8%). Fewer patients than expected (about 30%) treated their migraine attacks on the weekend. Among these patients, the proportion with pain relief at 2 hours was significantly higher in the rizatriptan group than in the placebo group (74% vs. 58%, P = 0.022). In the multiple-attack studies, pain relief at 2 hours was achieved in significantly more attacks treated with rizatriptan 5-mg tablet (77%) or with rizatriptan 5-mg wafer (77%) than with standard care (64%). Rizatriptan 5 mg was well tolerated in both the studies, with an adverse event profile not significantly different from that of placebo or standard care.

Conclusions.—Rizatriptan 5 mg was not more effective than placebo in the treatment of a single migraine attack in adolescents, but appeared to be more effective than standard care for treating multiple attacks occurring over 1 year in these patients. Rizatriptan 5 mg was well tolerated in adolescents during short-term and long-term use.

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