Fighting Hormonal Migraine Misery

Menstrual migraines prevented with Relpax

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) As if the usual monthly routine were not enough for women to deal with, some women are afflicted with what seems a random and heartless combination–menstruation and migraines.

A study has evaluated the protective effectiveness of Relpax (eletriptan) to prevent menstrual migraines. The study found the drug to be generally effective.

"Ask your specialist about treatments for perimenstrual migraines."

Dawn Marcus, M.D., a neurologist and professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh, conducted the study to learn if Relpax could prevent menstrual migraines.

The study involved 93 women who had documented a connection between migraine headaches and menstruation. Participants were given 20 mg of Relpax three times daily.

The participants would begin taking Relpax two days prior to when they expected their periods to start and continued taking the medication for a total of six days.

The study lasted for three months, and headache activity during the course of the study was compared with headache activity during the three months prior to the study.

Overall, there was a 46 percent decrease in headaches. By taking Relpax, the average woman could expect to go through ovulation without suffering migraines about three quarters of the time (71 percent occurrence).

The study also found:

  • For 53 percent of women, all three menstrual cycles occurred without the incidence of migraine. The rest of the women were divided fairly evenly between the following three groups:
    • 14 percent had no relief from their migraines.
    • 14 percent enjoyed one migraine–free period.
    • 19 percent had two migraine-free periods.

There was, however, a slight caveat to this study. If a woman made it through ovulation without suffering from migraines, she still had a 9 percent chance of suffering the onset of a migraine immediately after ending Relpax treatment.

The study concluded that this 20 mg regimen, taken three times a day, was generally effective at reducing menstrual migraines. 

This study was published in the journal Headache.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 23, 2011
Last Updated:
December 31, 2011