The results of national studies indicate that the class of drugs known as triptans can prevent menstrual migraines in as many as 50% of the women who take the medications. These findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
In 1 study, led by Robert Nett, MD, medical director of Texas Headache Associates in San Antonio, ~450 women who had at least a 1-year history of regularly occurring menstrual migraines participated. Within an hour after the headache started, the women were given either a 100- or a 50-mg dose of sumatrip-tan or a placebo. After 1 hour, almost one third of the women given 100 mg of sumatriptan were pain-free, as were one fourth of those given 50 mg, compared with 86% of the women given a placebo, who still had pain, Nett reported.
In a second study of 290 women with menstrual migraines, Nett gave the women either naratriptan or a placebo. Compared with the placebo group, the women who took naratriptan were more satisfied with its ability to control the headaches, either by preventing their occurrence or by reducing their numbers, severity, or duration, according to Nett.