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A comparison of subcutaneous sumatriptan and dihydroergotamine nasal spray in the acute treatment of migraine.

Author(s): Touchon J, Bertin L, Pilgrim AJ, Ashford E, Bes A

Affiliation(s): Department of Neurology, Hopital Arnaud de Villeneuve, Montpellier, France.

Publication date & source: 1996-08, Neurology., 47(2):361-5.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

We compared the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous (SC) sumatriptan (6 mg) with that of dihydroergotamine (DHE) nasal spray (1 mg plus optional 1 mg) in the acute treatment of migraine. Two hundred sixty-six adult migraineurs (International Headache Society criteria) completed a multicenter, double-blind, double-dummy, cross-over study. Patients took SC sumatriptan for one attack and DHE nasal spray for the other in random order. Data from both treatment periods show that at all time points from 15 minutes, SC sumatriptan was significantly better than DHE nasal spray at providing both headache relief (moderate/severe headache improving to mild/none) and resolution of headache. Similarly, SC sumatriptan was superior to DHE nasal spray for the other efficacy end points assessed in the study. Patients reported that both treatments were well tolerated. Adverse events were reported by 43% of patients taking SC sumatriptan and 22% of patients taking DHE nasal spray. These were usually mild and transient. We conclude that subcutaneous sumatriptan has a faster onset of action than DHE nasal spray and provides greater relief of acute migraine symptoms.

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