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J Intern Med. 1993 Aug;234(2):211-6.

Efficacy of subcutaneous sumatriptan in the acute treatment of early-morning migraine: a placebo-controlled trial. Early-Morning Migraine Sumatriptan Study Group.

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  • 1Saint-Antoine Hospital, Paris, France.



To evaluate the efficacy of self-administered subcutaneous sumatriptan in the acute treatment of early-morning migraine attacks.


A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study.


Thirteen neurology centres in France.


Patients of either sex, 18-65 years old, with two to six attacks of migraine (according to the International Headache Society (IHS) criteria, with or without aura) per month, of which at least two had to be early-morning migraine attacks. One-hundred-and-one patients were included, 96 being evaluable for the first attack and 81 for the cross-over design.


Two migraine attacks (grade 2/3) were treated with sumatriptan (6 mg) or placebo, with an optional second injection 1-24 h later. Main outcome measures. The primary end-point was headache relief: reduction in headache severity from grade 2/3 (moderate/severe) to grade 1/0 (mild/none) 2 h after treatment.


Sumatriptan was superior to placebo for headache relief (32 [78%] vs. 11 [28%] at the first attack; 29 [73%] vs. 8 [20%] at the second; P < 0.001). Because of a significant carry-over effect for some of the secondary end-points, a parallel-group analysis of the first attack was performed, which confirmed a significantly higher efficacy of sumatriptan for all end-points: pain-free rate (22 [46%] vs. 7 [15%]; P = 0.001) and use of a second injection (26 [53%] vs. 38 [81%]; P = 0.004). Sumatriptan was preferred by 74% of patients vs. 17% for placebo, and 9% expressed no preference (P < 0.0001). After complete relief, headache reappeared in 8/23 (35%) patients with sumatriptan and 3/7 (43%) with placebo. Adverse events were significantly more frequent with sumatriptan but they were minor and transient.


Subcutaneous sumatriptan auto-injection is an effective and well-tolerated acute treatment of early-morning migraine attacks allowing earlier return to normal activity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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