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Topiramate Prophylaxis and Response to Triptan Treatment for Acute Migraine


  • Werner J. Becker MD,

  • Suzanne N. Christie MD,

  • Stephane Ledoux MD,

  • Carin Binder BSc (Hons), MBA

  • From the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Dr. Becker); Ottawa Headache Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Dr. Christie); The Migraine Clinic of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Dr. Ledoux); and Janssen-Ortho Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Ms. Binder).

Address all correspondence to Werner J. Becker, MD, Division of Neurology, Foothills Medical Centre, 12th Floor, 1403, 29th Street NW, Calgary, AB T2N 2T9, Canada.


Objective.—To evaluate the effect of topiramate migraine prophylaxis on subject responsiveness to triptans used for acute symptomatic migraine treatment.

Background.—Clinical experience suggests that prophylactic migraine treatment may enhance the efficacy of symptomatic medications used to treat acute migraine attacks.

Methods.—This open-label, single-arm multicenter study consisted of a 6-week baseline period followed by a 16-week topiramate treatment period. Subjects meeting International Headache Society (IHS) criteria for migraine with and without aura signed consent and entered the baseline period. Those with 3 to 12 migraine periods per month during baseline received topiramate prophylactic treatment. Only patients who completed at least 12 weeks of topiramate treatment were included in the data analysis.

Results.—Of 55 patients screened, 40 subjects entered the topiramate treatment period and 21 subjects received at least 12 weeks of treatment. Mean final dose of topiramate was 124 mg per day (range 50 to 200 mg per day). During the baseline period, the mean percentage of attacks rendered pain-free at 2 hours for the 21 subjects was 46.9% (SD = 31.9), while during the topiramate treatment period it was 44.6% (SD = 32.2) (P= .8). On topiramate, after the first 8 weeks of dosage titration, patients experienced a mean of 3.68 migraine attacks/month, compared to 4.31 during the baseline period (P < .03). Thirteen subjects discontinued because of adverse events. The most commonly reported adverse events were paresthesia, fatigue, anxiety, and dizziness.

Conclusion.—Although topiramate prophylaxis did reduce migraine attack frequency, in this pilot study topiramate prophylactic migraine treatment did not increase the proportion of patients pain-free 2 hours after symptomatic triptan therapy.