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Naratriptan is as effective as sumatriptan for the treatment of migraine attacks when used properly. A mini-review

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BACKGROUND: Naratriptan, marketed in a low oral dose of 2.5 mg, is generally regarded as a less-effective triptan with a slower onset of action than most other triptans in the treatment of migraine attacks. In this review, naratriptan will be compared with sumatriptan, the standard triptan.

METHODS: Papers on pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics and results from comparative clinical trials with oral and subcutaneous naratriptan versus other triptans were retrieved from PubMed.

RESULTS: Naratriptan and sumatriptan have similar effects in relevant animal models. In a randomized controlled trial, oral naratriptan 2.5 mg is less effective than oral sumatriptan 100 mg after both 2 h and 4 h. In contrast, oral naratriptan 10 mg has a similar time-effect curve as oral sumatriptan 100 mg, in both its steepness and the efficacy at 2 h and 4 h. Subcutaneous naratriptan 10 mg (88% pain free at 2 h) was in one trial superior to subcutaneous sumatriptan 6 mg (55% pain free at 2 h).

CONCLUSION: Naratriptan was marketed for the treatment of migraine attacks as the "gentle triptan" in a low oral dose of 2.5 mg, a dose with no more adverse events than placebo. This low dose results in the slow onset of action and low efficacy of oral naratriptan, but in high doses oral naratriptan is similar to oral sumatriptan. Based on one randomized controlled trial, subcutaneous naratriptan has probably the greatest effect of any triptan.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Volume41
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)1499-1505
Number of pages7
ISSN0333-1024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

    Research areas

  • migraine, oral, tripans

ID: 66965875