Naratriptan as short-term prophylaxis of menstrually associated migraine: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Headache. 2001 Mar;41(3):248-56. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4610.2001.111006248.x.


Objective: To determine the efficacy of naratriptan 1-mg and 2.5-mg tablets twice daily compared with placebo as short-term prophylaxis of menstrually associated migraine.

Background: Approximately 60% of women with migraine report headaches associated with their menstrual cycles. Results from an open-label study suggest that short-term administration of sumatriptan is useful in the prophylaxis of menstrually associated migraine.

Methods: A randomized, double-blind, three-arm, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study was conducted in women aged 18 years or older with a history of migraine with or without aura, as defined by the International Headache Society, of at least 6 months. Two dose strengths of naratriptan (1 mg, 2.5 mg) or identical-appearing placebo tablets (1:1:1) were administered twice daily for 5 days starting 2 days prior to the expected onset of menses across four perimenstrual periods. End points included the number of menstrually associated migraines, total migraine days, peak headache severity, lost work/activity time, migraine-related quality of life, and incidence of adverse events.

Results: Overall, the intent-to-treat population comprised 206 women (naratriptan 1 mg, n = 70; naratriptan 2.5 mg, n = 70, and placebo, n = 66); 171 women treated four perimenstrual periods. Significantly more perimenstrual periods per subject treated with naratriptan, 1 mg, were headache-free compared with placebo (50% versus 25%, P =.003). Naratriptan, 1 mg, significantly reduced the number of menstrually associated migraines (2.0 versus 4.0, P <.05) and menstrually associated migraine days (4.2 versus 7.0, P <.01) compared with placebo. More patients treated with naratriptan, 1 mg, were headache-free across all treated perimenstrual periods compared with placebo (23% versus 8%). No difference in headache severity was observed in breakthrough headaches. The incidence and severity of adverse events was similar across treatment groups. Naratriptan, 2.5 mg, was not statistically superior to placebo for any measure.

Conclusions: Naratriptan, 1 mg, with tolerability similar to placebo, is an effective, short-term, prophylactic treatment for menstrually associated migraine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Menstruation*
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use*
  • Quality of Life
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tryptamines


  • Indoles
  • Piperidines
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • Tryptamines
  • naratriptan