Open Access

Clinical efficacy of rizatriptan for patients with migraine: efficacy of drug therapy for migraine accompanied by tension headache–like symptoms, focusing on neck stiffness

The Journal of Headache and Pain20056:249

DOI: 10.1007/s10194-005-0249-z

Received: 16 August 2005

Accepted: 17 October 2005

Published: 10 November 2005


According to an epidemiological study in Japan, there are as many as 22 million patients with tension headache and 8.4 million with migraine. Furthermore, patients suffering from both types of headache concurrently are estimated to account for more than 50% of headache patients. We studied the efficacy of drug therapy for migraine accompanied by tension headache–like symptoms, focusing principally on neck stiffness. We evaluated the efficacy of rizatriptan by comparison of findings before and after therapy in 34 migraine patients, consisting of 16 without neck stiffness (migraine without neck factor: WONF) and 18 with it (migraine with neck factor: WNF), who received treatment at our neurology/internal medicine department from 1 March 2004 to 31 May 2005. In the study, all the patients were asked to keep a record of their migraine status. The severity of migraine was classified by physicians according to the International Headache Society diagnostic criteria, based on which drug efficacy was evaluated. We selected rizatriptan for migraine treatment in our study based on Dr. Ferrari’s report. In the efficacy study of rizatriptan, in the group of 34 migraine patients, the pain relief rate (79.4%) and pain–free rate (41.2%) at two hours after treatment were as high as those reported in the meta–analysis performed by Ferrari et al., indicating high efficacy of rizatriptan. In the efficacy comparison between the WONF and WNF groups, the painfree rates were 56.3% and 27.8%, and cumulative pain relief rates were 100% and 61.1%, respectively, with better results in the WONF group. A test result was also significantly better (p=0.0076) in the WONF group. Rizatriptan was proved effective in treating migraine patients accompanied by tension headachelike symptoms. Comparison of efficacy rates between patient groups with and without tension headache–like symptoms showed that the pain relief rate in the group without neck stiffness was higher.

Key words

Neck stiffness Tension headache Migraine 5–HT 1B/1D receptor agonist Rizatriptan