Prevention and Treatment of Menstrual Migraine
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Migraine is a prevalent headache disorder affecting three times more women than men during the reproductive years. Menstruation is a significant risk factor for migraine, with attacks most likely to occur on or between 2 days before the onset of menstruation and the first 3 days of bleeding. Although menstrual migraine has been recognized for many years, diagnostic criteria have only recently been published. These have enabled better comparison of the efficacy of drugs for this condition. Acute treatment, if effective, may be all that is necessary for control. Evidence of efficacy, with acceptable safety and tolerability, exists for sumatriptan 50 and 100 mg, mefenamic acid 500 mg, rizatriptan 10 mg and combination sumatriptan/naproxen 85 mg/500 mg. However, there is evidence that menstrual attacks are more severe, longer, less responsive to treatment, more likely to relapse and associated with greater disability than attacks at other times of the cycle. Prophylactic strategies can reduce the frequency and severity of attacks and acute treatment is more effective. Predictable menstrual attacks offer the opportunity for perimenstrual prophylaxis taken only during the time of increased migraine incidence. There is grade B evidence of efficacy for short-term prophylaxis with transcutaneous estradiol 1.5 mg, frovatriptan 2.5 mg twice daily and naratriptan 1 mg twice daily. Contraceptive strategies offer the opportunity for treating menstrual migraine in women who also require effective contraception.