Valdecoxib for Treatment of a Single, Acute, Moderate to Severe Migraine Headache


  • David Kudrow MD,

  • H. Mikel Thomas MD,

  • Gary Ruoff MD,

  • Gary Ishkanian MD,

  • George Sands MD,

  • Vu H. Le MS,

  • Mark T. Brown MD

  • From the California Medical Clinic for Headache, Santa Monica, CA (Dr. Kudrow); Clinical Trials Technology (CTT), Prairie Village, KS (Dr. Thomas); Michigan State University College of Medicine, Kalamazoo, MI (Dr. Ruoff); Elkind Headache Center, Mt. Vernon, NY (Dr. Ishkanian); Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY (Dr. Sands); and Pfizer Global Research and Development, Ann Arbor, MI (Mr. Le and Dr. Brown).

Address all correspondence to Dr. H. Mikel Thomas, Clinical Trials Technology, 8340 Mission Road, Suite 205, Prairie Village, KS 66206.


Objective.—To evaluate the analgesic efficacy and safety of a single 20- or 40-mg dose of valdecoxib compared with placebo in treatment of a single, acute, moderate or severe migraine headache, with or without aura.

Background.—Valdecoxib, an oral COX-2 specific inhibitor, is indicated for relief of the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. This study assessed the optimal dose of valdecoxib for treatment of a single, acute, moderate to severe migraine headache.

Methods.—This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo- and active-controlled, multicenter, single-dose (primary end point) and multiple-dose (secondary end point), 56-day study of valdecoxib in the treatment of a single, acute, moderate or severe migraine headache, with or without aura. Migraine headaches were diagnosed according to International Headache Society (IHS) criteria. The primary efficacy end point was headache response (defined as reduction of headache pain intensity from moderate or severe to mild or none) at 2 hours postdose. Patients assessed their headache pain intensity and presence or absence of migraine-associated nausea, vomiting, phonophobia, and photophobia at intervals from 0 to 24 hours postdose. Sumatriptan 50 mg (encapsulated, in standard method, to maintain blinding) was included as a positive control for assay sensitivity. No statistical comparisons were performed between active treatment arms (valdecoxib 20 mg, valdecoxib 40 mg, and sumatriptan 50 mg). Adverse events and safety parameters were monitored throughout the study.

Results.—In the intent-to-treat population of 570 patients (135 valdecoxib 20 mg, 151 valdecoxib 40 mg, 143 sumatriptan, and 141 placebo), no significant differences in baseline demographics among treatment groups were observed. The headache response rate with valdecoxib 40 mg and sumatriptan 50 mg was significantly greater than that with placebo at all time points from 2 to 24 hours postdose. With valdecoxib 20 mg, headache response rate was significantly greater than placebo from 2 to 4 hours. Significantly fewer patients treated with valdecoxib 40 mg, compared with placebo, experienced nausea, vomiting, and phonophobia at 2 hours postdose.

Conclusions.—A single 40-mg dose of valdecoxib is effective and well tolerated in treatment of migraine headache pain and associated symptoms.