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J Headache Pain. 2007 Oct;8(5):283-8. Epub 2007 Oct 23.

Frovatriptan vs. transdermal oestrogens or naproxen sodium for the prophylaxis of menstrual migraine.

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  • 1Neurologic Unit, Valduce General Hospital, Via Dante 11, I-22100 Como, Italy.


Acute treatment of menstrual migraine (MM) attacks is often incomplete and unsatisfactory, and perimenstrual prophylaxis with triptans, oestrogen supplementation or naproxen sodium may be needed for decreasing frequency and severity of the attack. In this pilot, open-label, non-randomised, parallel group study we evaluated, in 38 women with a history of MM, the efficacy of frovatriptan (n=14) 2.5 mg per os or transdermal oestrogens (n=10) 25 microg or naproxen sodium (n=14) 500 mg per os once-daily for the short-term prevention of MM. All treatments were administered in the morning for 6 days, beginning 2 days before the expected onset of menstrual headache. All women were asked to fill in a diary card, in the absence of (baseline) and under treatment, in order to score headache severity. All women reported at least one episode of MM at baseline. During treatment all patients taking transdermal oestrogens or naproxen sodium and 13 out of the 14 patients (93%) taking frovatriptan had at least one migraine attack (p=0.424). Daily incidence of migraine was significantly (p=0.045) lower under frovatriptan than under transdermal oestrogens or NS. At baseline, the overall median score of headache severity was 4.6, 4.2 and 4.3 in the group subsequently treated with frovatriptan, transdermal oestrogens and naproxen sodium, respectively (p=0.819). During treatment the median score was significantly lower under frovatriptan (2.5) than under transdermal oestrogens (3.0) and naproxen sodium (3.9, p=0.049). This was evident also for each single day of observation (p=0.016). Among treatments differences were particularly evident for the subgroup of patients with true MM (n=22) and for frovatriptan vs. naproxen sodium. This study suggests that short-term prophylaxis of MM with frovatriptan may be more effective than that based on transdermal oestrogens or naproxen sodium.

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