Sumatriptan-Naproxen and Butalbital: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study; Derosier F, Sheftell F, Silberstein S, Cady R, Ruoff G, Krishen A, Peykamian M; Headache (Nov 2011)
Objectives.- The primary objective was to compare the efficacy of a sumatriptan and naproxen combination medication (SumaRT/Nap-85 mg sumatriptan and 500 mg naproxen sodium), a butalbital-containing combination medication (BCM-50 mg butalbital, 325 mg acetaminophen, 40 mg caffeine), and placebo when used to treat moderate to severe migraine headache pain in subjects who used BCMs in the past. Background.- Despite the lack of Food and Drug Administration approval and the absence of placebo-controlled trials to demonstrate efficacy, butalbital-containing medications are among the most commonly prescribed acute migraine treatments in the United States. Butalbital-containing medications are associated with serious and undesirable side effects, and have been linked to the chronification of migraine and development of medication-overuse headaches. This study compares the relative efficacy, safety, and tolerability of a fixed dose SumaRT/Nap versus a BCM and placebo. Methods.- Enrolled subjects were required to have treated at least 1 migraine with a butalbital medication in the past. Enrolled subjects treated 3 moderate to severe migraines using each of the 3 study treatments once in a randomized sequence. The primary endpoint compared SumaRT/Nap versus BCM for sustained pain freedom at 2-24 hours without the use of any rescue medication. This study combines data from 2 identical outpatient, randomized, multicenter, double-blind, double-dummy, 3 attack crossover studies in adult migraineurs (International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition). Results.- A total of 442 subjects treated at least 1 attack with study medication. The majority of the treated subjects were female (88%) with a mean age 43 years, who reported that their migraines had a severe impact on their lives (78% with Headache Impact Test-6 of>59). At screening, 88% of subjects reported current butalbital use; 68% had used butalbital for more than 6 weeks; and 82% reported satisfaction with butalbital. Across treatment groups, 28-29% of subjects took study medication within 15 minutes of migraine onset, 34-37% of subjects took study medication>15 minutes to 2 hours after onset, and 32-36% of subjects took study medication more than 2 hours after onset. This study did not detect a difference at the nominal 0.05 level in percent sustained pain-free between SumaRT/Nap (8%), BCM (6%), and placebo (3%). SumaRT/Nap was superior to BCM for pain free at 2, 4, 6, 8, 24, 48 hours (P ≤ .044); pain relief (mild or no pain) at 2, 4, 6, 8, 24, 48 hours (P ≤ .01); sustained pain relief 2-24 hours (P < .001); migraine free (pain free with no nausea, photophobia, or phonophobia) at 4, 6, 8, 24, 48 hours (P ≤ .046); and complete symptom free (migraine free with no neck/sinus pain) at 4, 6, 8, 48 hours (P ≤ .031). Adverse event incidence was similar for all treatments (10%, 12%, and 9% for placebo, SumaRT/Nap, and BCM, respectively). Nausea was the most frequent adverse event (2%, 2%, and<1% for placebo, SumaRT/Nap, and BCM, respectively). Five serious adverse events were reported by 3 subjects: viral meningitis and colon neoplasm (placebo); chest pain and hypertension 17 days postdose (SumaRT/Nap); and breast cancer (BCM). Investigators judged no serious adverse events related to study medication. Conclusions.- This study primarily included subjects whose migraines significantly impacted their lives. Before the study, these subjects used butalbital-containing medications as part of their current migraine treatment regimen and were satisfied with it, suggesting they were butalbital responders who had found a workable treatment strategy for themselves. When treated with SumaRT/Nap versus BCM in this study, however, a significant proportion of subjects reported better treatment outcomes for themselves for both migraine pain and associated symptoms. Use of SumaRT/Nap was also associated with less rescue medication use and a longer time before use of rescue medication compared with both BCM and placebo.
Blogger note: this is an interesting study, but begs the question that the most common reason neurologists prescribe fiorecet is that the patient is considered unsafe to receive triptans for various reasons.