Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 28, Issue 9, pp 1225–1237

Preventive Pharmacologic Treatments for Episodic Migraine in Adults

Authors

    • Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center
    • University of Minnesota School of Public Health
  • Jae-Young Choi
    • Division of BusinessHallym University
  • Rema Ramakrishnan
    • University of South Florida College of Public Health
  • Jennifer Biggs Miller
    • University of Minnesota School of Public Health
  • Shi-Yi Wang
    • Yale School of Public Health
  • Frederick R. Taylor
    • University of Minnesota Medical School
  • Robert L. Kane
    • Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center
    • University of Minnesota School of Public Health
Reviews

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-013-2433-1

Cite this article as:
Shamliyan, T.A., Choi, J., Ramakrishnan, R. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2013) 28: 1225. doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2433-1

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

Systematic review of preventive pharmacologic treatments for community-dwelling adults with episodic migraine.

DATA SOURCES

Electronic databases through May 20, 2012.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

English-language randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of preventive drugs compared to placebo or active treatments examining rates of ≥50 % reduction in monthly migraine frequency or improvement in quality of life.

STUDY APPRAISAL AND SYNTHESIS METHODS

We assessed risk of bias and strength of evidence and conducted random effects meta-analyses of absolute risk differences and Bayesian network meta-analysis.

RESULTS

Of 5,244 retrieved references, 215 publications of RCTs provided mostly low-strength evidence because of the risk of bias and imprecision. RCTs examined 59 drugs from 14 drug classes. All approved drugs, including topiramate (9 RCTs), divalproex (3 RCTs), timolol (3 RCTs), and propranolol (4 RCTs); off-label beta blockers metoprolol (4 RCTs), atenolol (1 RCT), nadolol (1 RCT), and acebutolol (1 RCT); angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors captopril (1 RCT) and lisinopril (1 RCT); and angiotensin II receptor blocker candesartan (1 RCT), outperformed placebo in reducing monthly migraine frequency by ≥50 % in 200–400 patients per 1,000 treated. Adverse effects leading to treatment discontinuation (68 RCTs) were greater with topiramate, off-label antiepileptics, and antidepressants than with placebo. Limited direct evidence as well as frequentist and exploratory network Bayesian meta-analysis showed no statistically significant differences in benefits between approved drugs. Off-label angiotensin-inhibiting drugs and beta-blockers were most effective and tolerable for episodic migraine prevention.

LIMITATIONS

We did not quantify reporting bias or contact principal investigators regarding unpublished trials.

CONCLUSIONS

Approved drugs prevented episodic migraine frequency by ≥50 % with no statistically significant difference between them. Exploratory network meta-analysis suggested that off-label angiotensin-inhibiting drugs and beta-blockers had favorable benefit-to-harm ratios. Evidence is lacking for long-term effects of drug treatments (i.e., trials of more than 3 months duration), especially for quality of life.

KEY WORDS

migraine evidence based medicine adverse drug effects

Supplementary material

11606_2013_2433_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 1534 kb)

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2013