A review of frovatriptan for the treatment of menstrual migraine
E Anne MacGregor
Barts Sexual Health Centre, St Bartholomew's Hospital, Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma, Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK
Abstract: The objective of this review is to provide an overview of menstrual migraine (MM) and of frovatriptan and to assess clinical trial data regarding the efficacy and safety of frovatriptan for the acute and short-term prophylaxis of MM. Randomized controlled trials comparing frovatriptan with placebo or a triptan comparator for the acute or prophylactic treatment of MM were selected for review. MM affects up to 60% of women with migraine. Compared with attacks at other times of the cycle, menstrual attacks are longer, more severe, less responsive to treatment, more likely to relapse, and more disabling than attacks at other times of the cycle. No drugs are licensed for acute treatment of MM; triptans are recommended for treatment of moderate to severe attacks for menstrual and nonmenstrual attacks. Perimenstrual prophylaxis is indicated for patients with predictable MM that does not respond to symptomatic treatment alone. Treatment is unlicensed, but options include triptans, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and hormone manipulation. Frovatriptan is distinctive from other triptans due to its long elimination half-life of 26 hours, which confers a longer duration of action. Post hoc analyses from randomized trials of MM show similar pain relief and pain-free rates for frovatriptan compared with other triptans (2 hours pain-free: relative risk [RR] 1.27, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.91–1.76) but significantly lower relapse rates (24 hours sustained pain-free: RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.18–0.62). Data from randomized controlled trials show a significant reduction in risk of MM in women using frovatriptan 2.5 mg once daily (RR 1.56, 95% CI 1.31–1.86) or twice daily (RR 1.98, 95% CI 1.68–2.34) for perimenstrual prophylaxis compared with placebo. The twice daily dosing was more effective than once daily (RR 1.27, 95% CI 1.11–1.46). These findings support the use of frovatriptan as a first-line acute treatment for MM and for perimenstrual prophylaxis.
Keywords: menstrually related migraine, acute treatment, prophylaxis
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