Neurological Sciences

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 429–435 | Cite as

A prospective, open-label study of milnacipran in the prevention of headache in patients with episodic or chronic migraine

  • Emily Rubenstein Engel
  • David Kudrow
  • Alan M. Rapoport
Original Article


Migraine is a highly prevalent episodic and chronic neurological disorder that impacts otherwise healthy men and women in their most productive years. An anecdotal survey in our clinical practices suggested that milnacipran, a drug indicated for the treatment of fibromyalgia, reduced the incidence of headache in patients with migraine. In this 3-month, open-label, pilot study, 38 patients diagnosed with episodic migraine and 7 patients with chronic migraine maintained headache diaries to assess the effectiveness and tolerability of milnacipran in headache prevention. After a 1-month period to obtain baseline data, milnacipran treatment was initiated and doses were titrated up to 100 mg/day over 1 month. Maintenance therapy continued for an additional 3 months. The primary efficacy end point was change from baseline in the number of all headache days during the last 28 days of maintenance therapy analyzed, using last observation carried forward (LOCF). Change from baseline in migraine days during the last month of the maintenance period using LOCF was a secondary end point. Milnacipran 100 mg daily was associated with a significant reduction in headache (−4.2 days; P < 0.001) and migraine frequency (−2.2 days; P < 0.003). The adverse event profile was consistent with prior reports of milnacipran for the treatment of other conditions. However, compared with the recommended protocol, a more gradual increase in milnacipran dose was required to improve tolerability for some patients. The robust efficacy signal found in this study strongly suggests that a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of milnacipran in migraine and chronic headache is warranted.


Migraine prevention Milnacipran Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor Disability 



We would like to thank Ann C Sherwood, Ph.D for editorial support in the preparation of this manuscript. This study was funded by a research grant from Forest Research Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Rubenstein Engel
    • 1
  • David Kudrow
    • 2
  • Alan M. Rapoport
    • 3
  1. 1.Dalessio Headache CenterScripps ClinicLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.California Medical Clinic for HeadacheSanta MonicaUSA
  3. 3.The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLASanta MonicaUSA

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