Blood pressure drug may ward off migraine

Treatment with the blood pressure drug olmesartan (sold as Benicar) effectively prevents migraine in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) or pre-hypertension, a study hints.

Olmesartan belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).

In a previous study, the ARB candesartan was shown to be effective in the prevention of migraine in patients with hypertension or pre-hypertension. Therefore, Dr. James A. Charles, of New Jersey Medical School, Newark, and colleagues investigated whether this might also be true of olmesartan.

The study involved 24 hypertensive or pre-hypertensive patients with migraine who were treated with between 5 and 40 mg of olmesartan for between 3 months and 1 year.

After follow-up for at least 3 months, all but two patients reported a reduction in headache frequency and intensity. The frequency of migraine attacks was reduced by an average of 82.5 percent and there was an average reduction in migraine severity of 45 percent.

No serious side effects were reported, and none of the patients had to withdraw from the study because of medication intolerance. The only adverse events reported were light-headedness and dizziness.

The researchers note that efficacy was comparable to that seen in the candesartan trial.

They call for larger studies of ARBs in migraine prevention, noting that, in the current study, olmesartan “lacked the adverse effects of conventional migraine preventative drugs.”

SOURCE: Headache March, 2006.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.