Fixed-dose sumatriptan and naproxen in poor responders to triptans with a short half-life

Headache. 2009 Jul;49(7):971-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2009.01458.x. Epub 2009 May 27.


Objective: To evaluate efficacy and tolerability of a single, fixed-dose tablet of sumatriptan 85 mg/naproxen sodium 500 mg (sumatriptan/naproxen sodium) vs placebo in migraineurs who had discontinued treatment with a short-acting triptan because of poor response or intolerance.

Background: Triptan monotherapy is ineffective or poorly tolerated in 1 of 3 migraineurs and in 2 of 5 migraine attacks. In April, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration approved the combination therapy sumatriptan/naproxen sodium, developed specifically to target multiple migraine mechanisms. This combination product offers an alternative migraine therapy for patients who have reported poor response or intolerance to short-acting triptans.

Methods: Two replicate, randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-attack crossover trials evaluated migraineurs who had discontinued a short-acting triptan in the past year because of poor response or intolerance. Patients were instructed to treat within 1 hour and while pain was mild.

Results: Patients (n = 144 study 1; n = 139 study 2) had discontinued an average of 3.3 triptans before study entry. Sumatriptan/naproxen sodium was superior (P < .001) to placebo for 2- through 24-hour sustained pain-free response (primary end point) (study 1, 26% vs 8%; study 2, 31% vs 8%) and pain-free response 2 hours post dose (key secondary end point) (study 1, 40% vs 17%; study 2, 44% vs 14%). A similar pattern of results was observed for other end points that evaluated acute (2- or 4-hour), intermediate (8-hour), or 2- through 24-hour sustained response for migraine (ie, pain and associated symptoms), photophobia, phonophobia, or nausea (with the exception of nausea 2 and 4 hours post dose). The percentage of patients with at least 1 adverse event (regardless of causality) was 11% with sumatriptan/naproxen sodium compared with 4% with placebo in study 1 and 9% with sumatriptan/naproxen sodium compared with 5% with placebo in study 2. Only 1 adverse event in 1 study was reported in > or =2% of patients after treatment with sumatriptan/naproxen sodium and reported more frequently with sumatriptan/naproxen than placebo: chest discomfort was reported in 2% of subjects in study 1, and no events met this threshold in study 2. No serious adverse events attributed to study medication were reported in either study.

Conclusion: In migraineurs who reported poor response to a short-acting triptan, sumatriptan/naproxen sodium was generally well tolerated and significantly more effective than placebo in conferring initial, intermediate, and sustained efficacy for pain and migraine-associated symptoms of photophobia and phonophobia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Naproxen / therapeutic use*
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Sumatriptan / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tryptamines / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • Tryptamines
  • Naproxen
  • Sumatriptan