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Triptans Help to Prevent Menstrual Migraine Symptoms

Taking the triptan medications eletriptan (Relpax®) or sumatriptan (Imitrex®) before menstruation may reduce the severity and duration of menstrual migraine attacks, and possibly prevent them altogether. Triptans are usually taken to stop migraine attacks, but some healthcare providers use them as “mini-preventives” to ward off attacks. A recent study compared the effect of the two triptans, with half of the 90 women enrolled receiving eletriptan and half receiving sumatriptan.

The women took the drugs a day before their periods began and three days thereafter for three consecutive menstrual cycles. Both medications reduced the incidence, severity and duration of migraine attacks. Eletriptan was slightly better than sumatriptan at reducing headache severity (34% reduction vs. 26%) and duration (down to 32 hours vs. 36 hours; pretreatment average duration of attacks was 52 hours). Sumatriptan worked slightly better at reducing the number of migraine attacks (51% vs. 44%).

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