Study shows that high-blood pressure medicine may also prevent migraines

Published on January 13, 2014 at 1:27 PM · No Comments

Candesartan is just as effective as more the commonly prescribed propranolol when it comes to preventing migraine attacks, according to a new study from St. Olavs Hospital in Trondheim, Norway and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The researchers have also found that candesartan may work for patients who get no relief from propranolol.

"This gives doctors more possibilities and we can help more people," says Professor Lars Jacob Stovner, leader of Norwegian National Headache Centre, who also led the study.

If one drug doesn't work for the migraine patient, the other one may. Side effects may also vary from patient to patient.

Proves theory

The new study is a follow-up on a ten-year-old study from NTNU.

Candesartan is already in use by several doctors as a migraine prophylactic, but the NTNU follow-up study, which confirms the study from a decade ago, provides the proof that the drug actually works.

More than 20 percent of migraine patients report that they feel better even when they are given a placebo. But blind tests show that candesartan works preventively for another 20 to 30 percent of patients. The hope is now that candesartan will be even more commonly prescribed.

Migraines are thought to affect a staggering one billion people worldwide. Twelve percent of the Norwegian population suffers from migraines, or more than 500,000 individuals. This poses problems for the individual, but is also costly for society in the form of sick leave and reduced ability to work. Preventing migraines thus offers many benefits.

Triple blind test

The NTNU study was a triple blind test, which means that neither patients nor doctors nor those who analyzed the results knew whether the patients had been given placebo or real medicine, Stovner said.

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