Objective: To determine the efficacy and tolerability of zolmitriptan 2.5mg oral tablet as an acute treatment for menstrual migraine attacks.
Methods: This was a two-phase, multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group outpatient study (phase I is reported here). The study was conducted at 27 sites in the USA. Eligible women were randomised (1 : 1) to receive either zolmitriptan 2.5mg oral tablet or placebo, and instructed to acutely treat up to two menstrual migraine attacks per menstrual period for up to three menstrual cycles with a single dose of study medication. Menstrual migraine was operationally defined as an attack occurring within the time period of 2 days prior to the expected onset of menses to 5 days after the onset of menses. Participants were asked to treat migraine headaches of moderate or severe intensity only that occurred >24 hours after the end of the last migraine attack and that had not been acutely treated with other medications. Information regarding each migraine attack was recorded by patients in treatment diary cards. The primary efficacy variable was 2-hour headache response (defined as a 2-point drop on a 4-point scale) for all attacks treated. Secondary variables included 1-and 4-hour headache response rate; 1-, 2- and 4-hour headache response based on a 100mm visual analogue scale (VAS); pain-free rate at 1, 2 and 4 hours; use of escape medication; the proportion of patients with recurrence within 24 hours of initial treatment; and tolerability.
Results: The intention-to-treat population comprised 334 patients (zolmitriptan [n = 174]; placebo [n = 160]). Patients treated 625 attacks with zolmitriptan and 529 attacks with placebo. Twice as many patients who took zolmitriptan achieved a 2-hour headache response compared with placebo recipients (65.7% vs 32.8%; p < 0.0001). Furthermore, a significantly higher headache response was observed with zolmitriptan than placebo at all timepoints assessed. Significantly more zolmitriptan recipients were pain-free 2 hours post-dose compared with placebo recipients (p < 0.0001). The use of escape medication was considerably lower in zolmitriptan recipients (42.6% vs 71.3%; p < 0.0001). Based on the reduction in VAS score of ≥30mm from baseline, significantly more zolmitriptan recipients achieved headache response compared with placebo recipients at 1, 2 and 4 hours post-dose (all p < 0.0001). Recurrence was reported in 29.1% of zolmitriptan-treated attacks versus 45.1% of placebo-treated attacks (p = 0.0009), with median time to recurrence of 8.5 and 4.0 hours, respectively. Zolmitriptan was well tolerated.
Conclusion: Oral zolmitriptan is effective and well tolerated for the acute treatment of menstrual migraine attacks. The results are similar to those seen with zolmitriptan in studies of the general migraine population.