Objective: To compare the efficacy of a fixed combination of indomethacin, prochlorperazine, and caffeine suppositories with sumatriptan suppositories in the treatment of 2 consecutive migraine attacks of moderate or severe intensity in a multicenter, randomized, crossover study.
Background: A fixed combination of indomethacin, prochlorperazine, and caffeine is the most commonly used drug for the acute treatment of migraine in Italy. No studies have been published comparing the efficacy of this combination with sumatriptan, the most widely prescribed of the triptans.
Methods: One hundred twelve patients with migraine with or without aura according to the diagnostic criteria of the International Headache Society were randomized to treat 2 migraine attacks with a fixed combination of indomethacin, prochlorperazine, and caffeine and 2 migraine attacks with sumatriptan. Both drugs were rectally administered in a single dose for each attack. Patients were asked to take study medication as soon as possible at the onset of a headache.
Results: Of the 112 patients, 88 were compliant to the protocol. More attacks became pain-free at 2 hours postdose (primary end point) on the combination than on sumatriptan (49% versus 34%; P<.01), while there was no difference in the relief of headache at 2 hours postdose (71% versus 65%). The combination was statistically superior to sumatriptan in the time to a pain-free response (a higher percentage of attacks became pain-free from 0.5 hours postdose to 5 hours postdose), in alleviation of nausea, and in a sustained pain-free response (pain-free at 2 hours postdose with no use of rescue medication or relapses within 48 hours). Moreover, a significant consistent response was achieved for the combination compared with sumatriptan across (higher percentage of patients pain-free at 2 hours postdose in the first, second, third, and fourth treated attack) and within patients (pain-free in 2 of 2 treated attacks in 35% of patients taking the combination and 20% of patients on sumatriptan). Both drugs were well-tolerated.
Conclusions: This study, analyzed according to the more recent guidelines for controlled trials in migraine, showed that a fixed combination of indomethacin, prochlorperazine, and caffeine is significantly more effective than sumatriptan in the acute treatment of migraine attacks. It is notable that the combination is less expensive than sumatriptan per unit dose.