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Anticonvulsant medications for migraine prevention

Department of Family Medicine, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.
American family physician (Impact Factor: 1.82). 06/2005; 71(9):1699-700.
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of migraine presents special problems in the elderly. Co-morbid diseases may prohibit the use of some medications. Moreover, even when these contraindications do not exist, older patients are more likely than younger ones to develop adverse events. Managing older migraine patients, therefore, necessitates particular caution, including taking into account possible pharmacological interactions associated with the greater use of drugs for concomitant diseases in the elderly. Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is the safest drug for symptomatic treatment of migraine in the elderly. Use of selective serotonin 5-HT(1B/1D) receptor agonists ('triptans') is not recommended, even in the absence of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular risk, and NSAID use should be limited because of potential gastrointestinal adverse effects. Prophylactic treatments include antidepressants, beta-adrenoceptor antagonists, calcium channel antagonists and antiepileptics. Selection of a drug from one of these classes should be dictated by the patient's co-morbidities. Beta-adrenoceptor antagonists are appropriate in patients with hypertension but are contraindicated in those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, heart failure and peripheral vascular disease. Use of antidepressants in low doses is, in general, well tolerated by elderly people and as effective, overall, as in young adults. This approach is preferred in patients with concomitant mood disorders. However, prostatism, glaucoma and heart disease make the use of tricyclic antidepressants more difficult. Fewer efficacy data in the elderly are available for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can be tried in particular cases because of their good tolerability profile. Calcium channel antagonists are contraindicated in patients with hypotension, heart failure, atrioventricular block, Parkinson's disease or depression (flunarizine), and in those taking beta-adrenoceptor antagonists and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (verapamil). Antiepileptic drug use should be limited to migraine with high frequency of attacks and refractoriness to other treatments. Promising additional strategies include ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonists because of their effectiveness and good tolerability in patients with migraine, particularly in those with hypertension. Because of its favourable compliance and safety profile, botulinum toxin type A can be considered an alternative treatment in elderly migraine patients who have not responded to other currently available migraine prophylactic agents. Pharmacological treatment of migraine poses special problems in regard to both symptomatic and prophylactic treatment. Contraindications to triptan use, adverse effects of NSAIDs, and unwanted reactions to some antiemetics reduce the list of drugs available for the treatment of migraine attacks in elderly patients. The choice of prophylactic treatment (beta-adrenoceptor antagonists, calcium channel antagonists, antiepileptics, and more recently, some antihypertensive drugs) is influenced by co-morbidities and should be directed at those drugs that are believed to have fewer adverse effects and a better safety profile. Unfortunately, for most of these drugs, efficacy studies are lacking in the elderly.
    Drugs & Aging 02/2006; 23(6):461-89. DOI:10.2165/00002512-200623060-00003 · 2.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Migraine is a prevalent disease which is classified into two groups of migraine with aura and without aura. Eighteen percent of women and 6.5 percent of men in United States have migraine headache. Migraine headache is prevalent in all age groups but it usually subsides in adults above fifty. Migraine has many risk factors such as stress, light, tiredness, special foods and beverages. The aim of this study was the evaluation of the effects of body mass index (BMI) on the treatment of migraine headaches. All patients assigned to four groups according to their BMI. Patients with more than three attacks per month received nortriptyline and propranolol for eight weeks. The frequency, duration and severity of pain were measured by visual analogue scale (VAS) and behavioral rating scale (BRS-6) in regular intervals. 203 patients completed the study. 153(75%) subjects were women and 50(25%) were men. Mean age of patients was 30.5 ± 7.1 years. Mean weight was 80.4 ± 14.1 kg and mean height was 1.67 ± 0.07 m. Pain frequency and duration showed statistically significant differences among four groups with better response in patients with lower BMI (P < 0.0001). VAS and BRS-6 scales showed statistically significant differences among four groups in favor of patients with lower BMI (P < 0.0001). This study showed that obesity has a direct influence on the treatment of migraine headaches. It could be recommended to patients to reduce their weight for better response to treatment. In addition, care should be taken about migraine drugs which make a tendency for increased appetite.
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