Frovatriptan succinate is the latest of the medications collectively referred to as the “triptans” to be approved by the FDA for treatment of acute migraine headache attacks.

The drug has been studied extensively in dose-ranging trials and double-blind placebo trials, controlled for efficacy and safety.

Frovatriptan is unique among the triptan medications in that it has a long half-life-a measure of how long a medication will be active in the body after it has been taken-of about 26 hours. This long half-life may be especially helpful for those patients who experience migraines that persist for several days, or for those who have been prone to a recurrence of their headaches with the other triptans, all of which have a much shorter half-life. Studies have suggested that Frovatriptan has among the lowest headache recurrence rates of the triptan class of medication when it is taken for moderate to severe migraines.

Compared to other triptans, this drug is generally slower to act on treating headaches that have already become moderate to severe. It was also found that there was a subgroup of nearly 25% of patients taking Frovatriptan who had a rapid onset of relief of their moderate to severe headaches.

Side effects related to Frovatriptan are relatively few. From the placebo controlled trials, more than 2% of patients experienced dizziness, paresthesia or altered normal sensations, headache, dry mouth, fatigue, flushing, hot or cold sensations, and chest pain. This is quite similar to the safety reports for other available triptans.

The unique pharmacology of this drug, which like other triptans is believed to relieve migraine by acting on 5HT1B and 5HT1D receptors in the brain and blood vessels, has suggested other possible areas to investigate. These studies currently underway, or recently completed, include studying the medication in migraines that are still at mild pain intensity, and in the preventive treatment of menstrually-related migraine headache.