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Eur Neurol. 1999 Jan;41(1):37-43.

Comparative efficacy and safety of calcium carbasalate plus metoclopramide versus ergotamine tartrate plus caffeine in the treatment of acute migraine attacks.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Laennec Hospital, Paris, France.


This randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, multicenter, parallel-group study aimed at comparing the efficacy and safety of calcium carbasalate (equivalent to 900 mg aspirin) plus metoclopramide 10 mg (CM) with ergotamine tartrate 1 mg plus caffeine 100 mg (EC) administered in the treatment of 2 acute migraine attacks. A total of 296 patients fulfilling the International Headache Society diagnostic criteria for migraine were enrolled. In total, one or two migraine attacks were treated in 268 and 235 patients, respectively. The primary endpoint for the first treated attack was headache relief, with intensity decreasing from moderate or severe to mild or absent 2 h after drug intake. Usual secondary efficacy endpoints were assessed. A superiority of CM over EC was observed for both treated attacks for the main endpoint: success in 54 versus 36%, p = 0.003 for the first attack and 60 versus 44%, p = 0.02 for the second attack. CM was also significantly superior to EC during the first attack for complete headache relief (20 vs. 8%, p = 0.006), nausea (42 vs. 63%, p = 0. 007) and willingness to take the drug again (90 vs. 80%, p = 0.043). The global efficacy evaluation, rated by the investigators, was significantly more favorable to CM for both attacks (p = 0.001 for the first attack and p = 0.02 for the second). The patients' evaluation was significant for the first attack (p = 0.002). The global incidence of adverse events was 45% higher with EC, though not significant (32 vs. 22%, p = 0.075). They were most often unspecific and mild to moderate in intensity. Gastrointestinal side effects were significantly less frequent with CM than EC (7 vs. 21%, p = 0.001). Thus, CM is more effective and has a better gastrointestinal safety than EC in the acute treatment of migraine attacks.

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