Aspirin, in high doses from 900 to 1300 mg, was shown to be an effective and safe treatment option for acute migraine headaches, with further research showing its potential efficacy in preventing recurrent migraine headaches through lower doses of 81 to 325 mg, according to a November review published in The American Journal of Medicine.1
As the authors note, treatment for acute migraine as well as prevention of recurrent attacks can be achieved using effective prescription drugs of shown benefit, but for those with high co-pays or without health insurance, these medications may not be available or affordable. Nationwide, rates of uninsured or underinsured individuals are estimated to be 8.5%, with a stark 13% prevalence in Florida.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine sought to address issues regarding affordability and access by examining the efficacy of low-cost aspirin as an effective and preventive treatment of acute migraine. Assessments conducted in the review included a meta-analysis of 13 randomized trials for the treatment of migraine in 4222 patients given either 900 to 1000 mg of aspirin, with and without 10 mg of metoclopramide, or 50 to 100 mg of sumatriptan. The review additionally included studies totaling more than 40,000 patients for prevention of recurrent attacks.
High-Dose Aspirin for Treatment at Onset of Acute Migraine
In the meta-analysis, the prespecified primary end point was distinguished as reduction in headache pain or complete remission of pain at 1 hour, 2 hours, and sustained reduction/remission over 24 hours.
Study results revealed that there were no significant differences between the 2 treatments between high-dose aspirin and either 50 mg or 100 mg of sumatriptan. For the primary end point, high-dose aspirin significantly reduced headache at 1 hour by 60% (95% CI, 1.3-2.0) when compared with 50 mg of sumatriptan. While 100 mg of sumatriptan produced a definite 37% reduction (95% CI, 0.45-0.87) when compared with high-dose aspirin and metoclopramide after 2 hours, the effectiveness of high-dose aspirin at initial onset of migraine stresses its efficacy as a low-cost treatment.