Objectives: We evaluated the effectiveness of combination treatment using sumatriptan plus metoclopramide versus sumatriptan alone for the treatment of acute migraine. The patients who were treated had failed to respond to triptans in the past despite adequate doses on at least 2 separate trials of the same triptan or 2 trials involving different triptans.
Background: There is limited evidence that dopaminergic antagonists may benefit the migraineur by relieving migraine pain and associated symptoms. The exact mechanism of action in migraine is unknown. The postulated action is the inhibition of dopaminergic overactivity. A dopaminergic antagonist, metoclopramide, may improve the efficacy of a 5-HT1B/1D agonist, sumatriptan.
Methods: In this double-blind, randomized, crossover study, 16 adult migraineurs fulfilling International Headache Society (IHS) criteria for migraine with or without aura who had failed to receive adequate relief from triptans treated one migraine with each treatment: sumatriptan 50 mg plus metoclopramide 10 mg or sumatriptan 50 mg plus placebo to match metoclopramide. Patients treated their migraines when they were moderate or severe in intensity and recorded pain severity and symptoms prior to treatment and 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes and 24 hours after treatment.
Results: Thirteen women and 3 men (mean age, 40 years) completed the study; ie, treated 2 migraines (a total of 32 migraines), one attack with each treatment. Meaningful relief was attained in 10 (63%) of 16 migraines treated with the combination of sumatriptan 50 mg plus metoclopramide 10 mg compared with 5 (31%) of 16 migraines treated with sumatriptan 50 mg plus placebo. Headache response (moderate or severe to mild or no pain at 2 hours) was achieved in 7 (44%) of 16 migraines with the combination of sumatriptan 50 mg plus metoclopramide 10 mg compared with 5 (31%) of 16 migraines treated with sumatriptan 50 mg plus placebo. There did not appear to be a difference between treatment groups with respect to associated symptoms. The combination of sumatriptan 50 mg plus metoclopramide 10 mg was well tolerated.
Conclusions: Combining sumatriptan with metoclopramide provided relief in some migraineurs who failed to achieve adequate relief with a triptan alone. It remains unknown whether initiating therapy when pain was mild or using a higher dose of sumatriptan (ie, 100 mg) would have provided additional benefit. Further studies are indicated.