Sumatriptan for the range of headaches in migraine sufferers: Results of the spectrum study

Richard B. Lipton, Walter F. Stewart, Roger Cady, Charles Hall, Stephen O'Quinn, Timothy Kuhn, Donna Gutterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


Background. - Migraineurs experience a spectrum of headaches: migraine, migrainous, and episodic tension-type as defined by the International Headache Society (IHS). Objective. - To evaluate the effectiveness of sumatriptan, 50-mg tablets, in treating the spectrum of headaches in IHS-diagnosed migraineurs. Design/Methods. - Migraineurs with severe disability (Headache Impact Questionnaire score 250 or greater) were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Patients treated up to 10 headaches with sumatriptan, 50 mg, or placebo (4:1). Headache features, recorded prior to treatment, were used to classify each headache using IHS criteria. Headache response (moderate or severe pain reduced to mild or no pain) and pain-free response were recorded at 2 and 4 hours postdose (primary endpoint). Because patients treated multiple attacks, statistical methods controlling for within-subject correlation were used. Results. - Two hundred forty-nine migraineurs treated 1576 moderate or severe headaches: migraine (n = 1110), migrainous (n = 103), and tension-type (n = 363). Sumatriptan was superior to placebo for headache response 4 hours postdose (primary endpoint) across all headache types (migraine, 66% versus 48%; P<.001; migrainous, 71% versus 39%; P<.01; tension-type, 78% versus 50%, P<.001). Sumatriptan was also superior to placebo for pain-free response 4 hours postdose for migraine (41% versus 24%, P<.001) and tension-type headaches (56% versus 36%, P=.001). Sumatriptan provided superior pain-free response 2 hours postdose for migraine (18% versus 7%, P<.0001) and tension-type headache (28% versus 14%, P=.0005) compared with placebo. Conclusion. - Sumatriptan, 50-mg tablets, are effective for the full spectrum of headaches experienced by patients with disabling migraine due to a sumatriptan-responsive mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-791
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2000


  • Efficacy
  • Migraine
  • Migrainous
  • Spectrum
  • Sumatriptan
  • Tension-type

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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