Purpose: To investigate whether the incidence of epithelial defects during laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) was different in patients who were taking sumatriptan (Imitrex, Glaxo Smith Kline, Pittsburgh, Pa) for migraine headaches than in those who were not.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on 54 eyes of 28 patients who had been identified as taking sumatriptan and had undergone LASIK at Minnesota Eye Consultants between 1999 and 2001. These patients were compared with 54 gender- and age-matched control eyes operated on with the same microkeratome at the same location during the same period of time. The incidence of epithelial defects during LASIK was compared between the two groups.
Results: In the sumatriptan group, 11.1% (6 of 54) of eyes developed epithelial defects as compared to 9.3% (5 of 54) of eyes in the non-triptan group (P=.75, chi square). More recent sumatriptan exposure did not increase the incidence of epithelial defect (P=.47). In patients in whom sumatriptan was stopped >1 month prior to LASIK, 6.3% (1 of 16 eyes) had epithelial defects; in patients in whom sumatriptan was stopped <1 month prior to LASIK, 14.3% (4 of 28 eyes) developed epithelial defects; and 9.3% (5 of 54 eyes) of patients in whom no triptans had ever been used had epithelial defects (P=.70).
Conclusions: There is no correlation between the use of sumatriptan for relief of migraine headaches and the generation of epithelial defects during LASIK. There appears to be no reason to stop triptans before proceeding with LASIK.