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Use of prophylactic migraine medicine significantly reduces need for further medication, study shows

European Academy of Neurology Congress 2019 Press Release Jul 06, 2019

New results of a Norwegian study, presented at the 5th European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress, reveals a link between the use of migraine prophylactic medicine and a resulting reduction in the usage of triptans.

The large-scale study, which analysed 277,191 patients across Norway, revealed that the migraine prophylactic candesartan had the highest proportion of patients achieving a 30% triptan reduction after three months. Triptan medicines are a specific painkiller for migraine headaches taken early in attack while the pain is still mild. 

New research, however, demonstrated that candesartan, which is typically used for the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, was the most effective migraine prophylactic for patients, leading to a reduction in triptan use. 

A common challenge in the treatment of migraines rests on patients discontinuing their use of preventative drugs. Lead researcher Associate Professor Marte-Helene Bjørk, from the University of Bergen, attributes this to the negative side effects of the medication or lack of perceived efficacy. The study revealed that after 6 months, more than 6 out of 10 patients on topiramate, amitriptyline and valproic acid had stopped picking up their medication at the pharmacy. In comparison, the results of the study showed that patients who were treated with candesartan, lisinopril and botulinium toxin A had the highest retention rate after 6 months. 

Commenting on the future implications of the study, Professor Bjørk stated, “Candesartan for migraine should be studied in randomised blinded and controlled studies to increase the evidence of efficacy. It is a promising migraine prophylactic drug which is know to be well tolerated and inexpensive.” 

Remarking further on the positive results of the study, Professor Bjørk claimed “For the patient population and for the health economy globally, it is important to increase the number of well tolerated, effective and accessible migraine prophylactics.” 

Currently ranked as the leading cause of disability among all neurological disorders, migraines are estimated to cost Europe €27 billion per year. Studies have shown that it is the most disabling to those aged 35-45, disrupting a commonly productive period of life. Despite this, research into migraine remains one of the least publicly funded of all neurological diseases. 


This article is a news release from European Academy of Neurology Congress 2019 Meeting. Read the original here.

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