A Randomized Trial of Ketorolac vs Sumatripan vs Placebo Nasal Spray (KSPN) for Acute Migraine

Aruna S. Rao, Bizu Gelaye, Tobias Kurth, Paul D. Dash, Haley Nitchie, B. Lee Peterlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective To compare the efficacy of ketorolac nasal spray (NS) vs placebo and sumatriptan NS for the acute treatment of migraine. Methods This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo and active-comparator, crossover study. Adult migraineurs were randomized to ketorolac NS 31.5 mg, sumatriptan NS 20 mg, or placebo to treat three moderate to severe migraine attacks and switched treatments with each attack. Patients seeking headache care at a headache center or in response to community advertisement were recruited. Adult participants with episodic migraine who experienced ≥2 migraine attacks per month were eligible for the Ketorolac vs Sumatriptan vs Placebo Nasal Spray migraine study. Participants were randomized to treatment arms by a research pharmacist, in a 1:1:1 ratio using computer-generated lists. The primary outcome was 2-hour pain relief. Secondary outcomes included 2-hour pain freedom and absence of migraine associated symptoms, and 24-hour sustained pain relief and pain freedom. Results Of the 72 randomized participants, 54 (75%) treated at least one attack and 49 (68%) completed all three treatments, for a total of 152 treated migraine attacks. Both ketorolac NS (72.5%, P <.001) and sumatriptan NS (69.4%, P =.001) were more effective than placebo (38.3%) for 2-hour pain relief and 2-hour pain freedom (ketorolac: 43.1%, P =.004; sumatriptan: 36.7%, P =.046; placebo: 18.4%). Ketorolac NS, but not sumatriptan NS, was more effective than placebo in 2-hour absence of nausea. Both ketorolac NS and sumatriptan NS were more effective than placebo for 24-hour sustained pain relief (ketorolac: 49%, P <.001; sumatriptan: 31%, P =.01, placebo: 20%). Only ketorolac NS was superior to placebo for 24-hour (ketorolac: 35.3%, P =.003; sumatriptan: 22.4%, P =.18, placebo: 12.2%) sustained pain freedom. Nasal burning and dysgeusia were the most common adverse effects for active treatments. Conclusions This study supports that ketorolac NS is superior to placebo and that it is non-inferior to sumatriptan NS for the acute abortive treatment of migraine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • intranasal
  • ketorolac
  • migraine
  • moderate to severe pain
  • nasal spray
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
  • sumatriptan
  • treatment
  • triptan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'A Randomized Trial of Ketorolac vs Sumatripan vs Placebo Nasal Spray (KSPN) for Acute Migraine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this