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Vol. 49, No. 1, 2003
Issue release date: December 2002
Eur Neurol 2003;49:20–29

Crossover Comparison of Efficacy and Preference for Rizatriptan 10 mg versus Ergotamine/Caffeine in Migraine

Christie S. · Göbel H. · Mateos V. · Allen C. · Vrijens F. · Shivaprakash M.
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Rizatriptan is a selective 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonist with rapid oral absorption and early onset of action in the acute treatment of migraine. This randomized double- blind crossover outpatient study assessed the preference for 1 rizatriptan 10 mg tablet to 2 ergotamine 1 mg/caffeine 100 mg tablets in 439 patients treating a single migraine attack with each therapy. Of patients expressing a preference (89.1%), more than twice as many preferred rizatriptan to ergotamine/caffeine (69.9 vs. 30.1%, p ≤ 0.001). Faster relief of headache was the most important reason for preference, cited by 67.3% of patients preferring rizatriptan and 54.2% of patients who preferred ergotamine/caffeine. The co-primary endpoint of being pain free at 2 h was also in favor of rizatriptan. Forty-nine percent of patients were pain free 2 h after rizatriptan, compared with 24.3% treated with ergotamine/caffeine (p ≤ 0.001), rizatriptan being superior within 1 h of treatment. Headache relief at 2 h was 75.9% for rizatriptan and 47.3% for ergotamine/caffeine (p ≤ 0.001), with rizatriptan being superior to ergotamine/caffeine within 30 min of dosing. Almost 36% of patients taking rizatriptan were pain free at 2 h and had no recurrence or need for additional medication within 24 h, compared to 20% of patients on ergotamine/caffeine (p ≤ 0.001). Rizatriptan was also superior to ergotamine/caffeine in the proportions of patients with no nausea, vomiting, phonophobia or photophobia and for patients with normal function 2 h after drug intake (p ≤ 0.001). More patients were (completely, very or somewhat) satisfied 2 h after treatment with rizatriptan (69.8%) than at 2 h after treatment with ergotamine/caffeine (38.6%, p ≤ 0.001). Recurrence rates were 31.4% with rizatriptan and 15.3% with ergotamine/caffeine. Both active treatments were well tolerated. The most common adverse events (incidence ≧5% in one group) after rizatriptan and ergotamine/caffeine, respectively, were dizziness (6.7 and 5.3%), nausea (4.2 and 8.5%) and somnolence (5.5 and 2.3%).

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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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