Tramadol/acetaminophen for the treatment of acute migraine pain: Findings of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Stephen D. Silberstein, Frederick G. Freitag, Todd D. Rozen, David B. Kudrow, David J. Hewitt, Donna M. Jordan, Alan C. Fisher, Norman R. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective. - To compare tramadol/acetaminophen (APAP) and placebo for the management of acute migraine pain. Background. - Tramadol/APAP tablets reduced moderate-to-moderately severe acute pain in controlled studies of other painful conditions. Methods. - This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study enrolled adults with migraine pain as per International Headache Society criteria. Subjects took tramadol/APAP (total dose, 75 mg/650 mg) or placebo for a typical migraine with moderate-to-severe pain. Severity of pain and migraine-related symptoms were recorded before study medication and at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 24 hours after study medication. Results. - Efficacy analyses included 305 subjects (154 tramadol/APAP and 151 placebo). Treatment response was higher for tramadol/APAP than a placebo at 2 hours after dosing (55.8% vs. 33.8%, P < .001) and at every other assessment from 30 minutes (12.3% vs. 6.6%) through 6 hours (64.9% vs. 37.7%) (all P ≤ .022). Subjects in the tramadol/APAP group were more likely than those in the placebo group to be pain-free at 2 hours (22.1% vs. 9.3%), 6 hours (42.9% vs. 25.2%), and 24 hours (52.7% vs. 37.9%) (all P ≤ .007). Two hours after dosing, moderate-to-severe symptoms that were less common for tramadol/APAP than placebo included photophobia (34.6% vs. 52.2%, P = .003) and phonophobia (34.3% vs. 44.9%, P = .008), but not migraine-related nausea (38.5% vs. 29.4%, P = .681). Treatment-related adverse events included nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and somnolence. Conclusions. - Tramadol/APAP reduces the severity of pain, photophobia, and phonophobia associated with migraine headache, but does not reduce migraine-associated nausea. Tramadol/APAP might be an appropriate option for the management of moderate-to-severe migraine headache.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1317-1327
Number of pages11
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2005


  • Acetaminophen
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Pain
  • Tramadol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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