Restoring migraine sufferers' ability to function normally: A comparison of rizatriptan and other triptans in randomized trials

Gennaro Bussone, Domenico D'Amico, Kathleen A. McCarroll, William Gerth, Christopher R. Lines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many migraine patients are unable to function normally during a migraine attack. Assessments of treatment efficacy have tended to focus on migraine symptoms, rather than looking at functional impact. This study compared the efficacy of different oral triptans for restoring normal function in migraine sufferers. Methods: Retrospective subgroup analysis of data from five randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials in which oral rizatriptan was directly compared with oral sumatriptan 100 mg (772 attacks), 50 mg (2,227 attacks), and 25 mg (1,182 attacks), naratriptan 2.5 mg (413 attacks), and zolmitriptan 2.5 mg (578 attacks) for the acute treatment of a moderate or severe migraine attack. Functional disability was evaluated by patients on a 4-grade scale ('normal', 'mild impairment', 'severe impairment', 'requires bedrest') at baseline and at 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3 and 4 h after dosing. This analysis looked at the percentage of patients who had normal functional ability at 2 h, the last time point before escape medications were allowed, in the subgroup of patients who had some level of disability at baseline. Results: Most patients in each trial and treatment group had some level of disability at baseline (range =94-100%). At 2 h, more patients on rizatriptan 10 mg were able to function normally compared with sumatriptan 100 mg (39 vs. 32%, odds ratio = 1.4, p = 0.021), sumatriptan 50 mg (47 vs. 42%, odds ratio = 1.2, p = 0.033), sumatriptan 25 mg (48 vs. 36%, odds ratio = 1.7, p <0.001), naratriptan 2.5 mg (39 vs. 22%, odds ratio = 2.5, p <0.001), and zolmitriptan 2.5 mg (45 vs. 36%, odds ratio = 1.6, p = 0.008). Conclusion: In direct head-to-head comparative clinical trials, oral rizatriptan 10 mg enabled more migraine sufferers to function normally at 2 h after dosing than oral sumatriptan, naratriptan, and zolmitriptan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-177
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • 5-HT receptor agonists
  • Migraine
  • Naratriptan
  • Rizatriptan
  • Sumatriptan
  • Triptans
  • Zolmitriptan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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