Open Access

Frovatriptan vs. transdermal oestrogens or naproxen sodium for the prophylaxis of menstrual migraine

  • Mario Guidotti1Email author,
  • Michela Mauri1,
  • Caterina Barrilà1,
  • Francesca Guidotti1 and
  • Carlo Belloni2
The Journal of Headache and Pain20078:417

Received: 19 March 2007

Accepted: 19 September 2007

Published: 23 October 2007


Acute treatment of menstrual migraine (MM) attacks is often incomplete and unsatisfactory, and perimenstrual prophylaxis with triptans, oestrogen supplementation or naproxen sodium may be needed for decreasing frequency and severity of the attack. In this pilot, open-label, non-randomised, parallel group study we evaluated, in 38 women with a history of MM, the efficacy of frovatriptan (n=14) 2.5 mg per os or transdermal oestrogens (n=10) 25 μg or naproxen sodium (n=14) 500 mg per os once-daily for the short-term prevention of MM. All treatments were administered in the morning for 6 days, beginning 2 days before the expected onset of menstrual headache. All women were asked to fill in a diary card, in the absence of (baseline) and under treatment, in order to score headache severity. All women reported at least one episode of MM at baseline. During treatment all patients taking transdermal oestrogens or naproxen sodium and 13 out of the 14 patients (93%) taking frovatriptan had at least one migraine attack (p=0.424). Daily incidence of migraine was significantly (p=0.045) lower under frovatriptan than under transdermal oestrogens or NS. At baseline, the overall median score of headache severity was 4.6, 4.2 and 4.3 in the group subsequently treated with frovatriptan, transdermal oestrogens and naproxen sodium, respectively (p=0.819). During treatment the median score was significantly lower under frovatriptan (2.5) than under transdermal oestrogens (3.0) and naproxen sodium (3.9, p=0.049). This was evident also for each single day of observation (p=0.016). Among treatments differences were particularly evident for the subgroup of patients with true MM (n=22) and for frovatriptan vs. naproxen sodium. This study suggests that short-term prophylaxis of MM with frovatriptan may be more effective than that based on transdermal oestrogens or naproxen sodium.


Frovatriptan Menstrual migraine Transdermal oestrogens Naproxen sodium True menstrual migraine Menstrually related migraine