Objective.—To evaluate the comparative efficacy and safety of oral almotriptan in treating acute migraine attacks.
Background.—Almotriptan is an oral selective sertonin1B/1D receptor agonist (triptan) with a high bioavailability and short half-life, developed for the treatment of migraine. In recent years, a number of randomized controlled trials have been published examining the efficacy and safety of almotriptan in the acute treatment of migraine.
Methods.—Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using a random-effects model to estimate the pooled rate ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for the proportions of patients achieving headache relief and pain-free responses at 1 or 2 hours post-dose, sustained pain-free response at 2–24 hours post-dose, and safety outcomes (proportions of patients experiencing any adverse events, dizziness, somnolence, asthenia, and chest tightness) comparing almotriptan against placebo, other triptans, and different dosages of almotriptan. Absolute rate differences (ARDs) for 2-hour headache relief, pain free, and sustained pain free responses between almotriptan and placebo were also calculated.
Results.—Eight RCTs involving 4995 patients were included in the analysis. Almotriptan 12.5 mg was significantly more effective than placebo for all efficacy outcomes (RRs ranged from 1.47 to 2.15; ARDs ranged from 0.01 to 0.28) and there were no significant differences in any of the safety outcomes. There were also no significant differences in efficacy outcomes comparing almotriptan 12.5 mg against sumatriptan 100 mg and zolmitriptan 2.5 mg, but almotriptan 12.5 mg was associated with significantly fewer adverse events than sumatriptan 100 mg (RR: 0.39, 95%CI: 0.23, 0.67). However, there was no significant difference between almotriptan and sumatriptan in terms of clinically important adverse effects, such as dizziness, somnolence, asthenia, and chest tightness. Almotriptan 12.5 mg was significantly less effective than almotriptan 25 mg for 1-hour pain-free response (RR: 0.45, 95%CI: 0.21, 0.95), but associated with significantly fewer patients experiencing adverse events (RR: 0.61, 95%CI: 0.41, 0.91) than almotriptan 25 mg.
Conclusions.—Almotriptan 12.5 mg is an effective treatment for acute attacks of migraine, in particular, it has been found to be as effective as sumatriptan 100 mg and zolmitriptan 2.5 mg. The risk of adverse events associated with almotriptan 12.5 mg was similar to placebo and significantly lower than sumatriptan 100 mg. Further research is required to assess the comparative efficacy of almotriptan against other triptans.