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Triptans are Apple to Oranges

A study published in the July/August issue of Headache found strong support for trying a different triptan if the first brand you tried didn’t give you sufficient relief. Researchers recruited migraineurs who weren’t helped by Imitrex (sumatriptan), and gave them Axert (almotriptan) or a placebo to take at the onset of their next migraines. 47% of participants in the Axert group experienced pain relief at the two hour mark of the migraine, whereas 24% of the placebo group did.

The authors say that they weren’t surprised by the results because “migraine patients are not all the same, migraine headaches are not all the same and triptans are not all the same.” Triptans differ enough to have different side effects too. A real-life example is that Imitrex made my husband, who has migraines about 8 times a year, violently ill. When he finally got over his Imitrex induced aversion to triptans, he tried Axert, which didn’t make him nauseous.

Switching Triptans May Improve Migraine Response is the Reuters article published about the study. The journal article abstract is also available.

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