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Postgrad Med J. 2004 Dec;80(950):720-3.

Rofecoxib versus ibuprofen for acute treatment of migraine: a randomised placebo controlled trial.

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Department of Neurology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India.



Rofecoxib is a potent cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitor with a long duration of action. Its role in migraine has not been systematically evaluated.


To study the efficacy of rofecoxib in migraine.


In a randomised placebo controlled trial rofecoxib 25 mg, ibuprofen 400 mg, and placebo were compared regarding their efficacy in relieving acute migraine attack. Migraine patients with 2-6 attacks per month were recruited. Headache severity, functional disability, and severity of associated symptoms were graded on a 0-3 scale. The primary endpoint was pain relief at two hours. Relief of associated symptoms and sustained pain relief for 24 hours were also noted.


One hundred and twenty four patients were randomised into rofecoxib (42), ibuprofen (40), and placebo (42) groups. One hundred and one patients were followed up: 33 on rofecoxib, 35 ibuprofen, and 33 placebo. Patients' ages ranged from 16-62 (mean 31.4) years, and 83 were females. Pain relief at two hours was noted in 45.5% on rofecoxib, 55.6% on ibuprofen, and 9.1% in the placebo group. The associated symptoms at two hours were reduced in 39.4% on rofecoxib, 50% on ibuprofen, and 9.1% in the placebo group. Sustained 24 hour pain relief was noted in 36.4% on rofecoxib, 41% on ibuprofen, and 6.1% in the placebo group. In the ibuprofen group, five patients had abdominal pain but there were no side effects in those on rofecoxib or in the control group. Both rofecoxib and ibuprofen were significantly effective in relieving pain, associated symptoms at two hours, and in sustained pain relief. There was no significant difference between rofecoxib and ibuprofen in aborting acute migraine attacks.


Both ibuprofen and rofecoxib were superior to placebo in aborting an acute migraine attack, and there was no significant difference in their efficacy in an acute migraine attack.

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