Usually limited information about the frequency of migraine episodes is derived from acute migraine trials. However, the design of some studies is such that they also provide relevant information about the attack frequency without the bias associated with patient expectations of treatment effect between attacks during prophylaxis trials. Using clinical data from repeated migraine attacks treated with placebo, naratriptan 2.5 mg or sumatriptan 100 mg, we show that attack and interictal periods can be described by a random probability distribution. Based on a gamma distribution, the mean interval between attacks was estimated to be 24 (17-34) days for placebo, 23 (18-29) days for naratriptan 2.5 mg and 22 (17-28) for sumatriptan 100 mg. These findings suggest that the interictal interval is not affected by abortive treatment with triptans. Interpretation of these results may be limited by the study type, yet the method represents a new tool for the evaluation of disease dynamics and treatment effect in the prophylaxis of migraine.
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