Optimal time to treat migraine pain with Relpax®; is early in the attack, new study finds


Data presented at American Headache Society show treating migraine during mild pain provides greater efficacy than waiting for pain to become more severe

New York (June 11, 2004) – Treating a migraine attack early with Relpax® (eletriptan HBr) provides greater efficacy for migraine sufferers than waiting until the pain becomes more intense, according to a new study. In the study, two-hour and sustained pain-free rates nearly doubled among patients who treated their attack while the pain was still mild compared with those who waited until the pain became moderate to severe.

The results were presented today at the 46th American Headache Society annual meeting.

"Patients too often will delay taking prescription medication, believing the pain will go away, which is not the optimal way to treat migraines," said Dr. Jan Brandes, clinical instructor in the department of neurology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a neurologist at the Nashville Neuroscience Group. "This study provides new evidence that migraine sufferers should treat at the first signs of an attack, and clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of Relpax in treating migraine, especially when taken early during the mild pain phase."

Overall, migraine patients taking Relpax 40 mg, the recommended daily dose, experienced significantly higher two-hour pain-free rates than those taking placebo (47 percent vs. 22 percent). Among patients who waited to take Relpax 40 mg until the attack became moderate to severe, two-hour pain-free rates were 39 percent (compared with 21 percent taking placebo). However, among the 25 percent of patients who treated their attack with Relpax 40 mg when the pain was still mild, two-hour pain-free rates jumped to 68 percent (compared with 25 percent taking placebo). The highest two-hour pain-free rates were seen among patients with mild pain taking Relpax 40 mg within 30 minutes of pain onset (71 percent vs. 23 percent on placebo). In addition, sustained pain-free rates were higher for patients who treated with Relpax 40 mg when the pain was mild (56 percent) compared with those treating when the pain was moderate to severe (30 percent).

"I was always reluctant to treat my migraine right away, thinking there was a chance that the pain wouldn't get any worse or that maybe it wasn't a migraine this time. Of course, it usually got worse," said Vanessa Simmons, a 26-year old migraine sufferer. "Taking my doctor's advice, I've gotten in the habit of treating as soon as I feel an attack coming on and I am still amazed at how quickly the pain goes away when I treat early with Relpax, and I am able to get back to my day."

The study findings are from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 613 patients aged 18-65 who met the International Headache Society criteria for migraine. Patients were randomly assigned Relpax 20 mg, Relpax 40 mg or placebo to treat a single migraine attack. Regardless of pain severity, patients took the study medication as soon as they were sure the headache was a migraine. The primary outcome was the pain-free rate two hours after dose.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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