Headache

Migraine Headache Prophylaxis

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Migraine Headache Prophylaxis, Migraine Prophylaxis

  • Epidemiology
  1. Of the 38% of episodic Migraine patients in whom prophylaxis is indicated, less than half are taking prophylaxis
  1. Headache frequency
    1. Headaches per month: 4 or more OR
    2. Headache days per month: 8 or more
    3. Consider in any patient desiring Migraine Prophylaxis to reduce Headache frequency
  2. Headache duration
    1. Prolonged Headaches >2 days with Disability
  3. Headache response to Migraine Abortive Treatment
    1. Debilitating Headache despite acute Migraine abortive agents
    2. Intolerance or contraindications to acute Migraine abortive agents
    3. Analgesic Overuse Headaches or overuse of acute Migraine abortive agents
  4. Other indications
    1. Complicated Migraine Headache subtypes (prominent neurologic findings)
  • Protocol
  1. Approach
    1. Effective prophylaxis reduces Headache frequency or severity by 50%
    2. Keep Headache diary
    3. Start prophylaxis at low dose and gradually increase
    4. For each step, titrate dose every 2-4 weeks until effective over a 2-6 month period
    5. Consider tapering to lowest effective dose at 6-12 months
  2. Step 1: Select a first-line agent
    1. Beta Blocker (Propranolol, Metoprolol or Timolol)
    2. Divalproex (Depakote)
    3. Topiramate (Topamax)
    4. If Menstrual Migraines, Frovatriptan 2.5 mg twice daily for 5-7 days starting 0-2 days before Menses
  3. Step 2: Select a different first-line agent if not effective despite maximal tolerated dose
  4. Step 3: Consider combining 2 first-line agents
  5. Step 4: Consider a second line agent
    1. Amitriptyline (Elavil)
    2. Venlafaxine (Effexor)
    3. Other Beta Blockers (Atenolol, Nadolol)
    4. If Menstrual Migraines, Zolmitriptan 2.5 mg three times daily for 5-7 days starting 0-2 days before Menses
  • Preparations
  • Most Effective Agents for Migraine Prophylaxis
  1. Propranolol LA: Level A Evidence
    1. Metoprolol and Timolol have similar efficacy to Propranolol in Migraine Prophylaxis (Level A evidence)
    2. First choice unless Beta Blocker contraindication
    3. Propranolol 80 mg orally daily
      1. Gradually increase over 2-3 weeks until effective dose (typically 80 mg twice daily or 160 mg daily)
      2. Maximum: 240 to 320 mg orally daily
      3. May substitute with generic Propranolol (split daily dose into 3-4 divided doses)
    4. Alternatives
      1. Metoprolol 25-50 mg at bedtime nightly, then increase by 25 mg weekly up to 50-100 mg daily
  2. Amitriptyline (Elavil) or Nortriptyline (Pamelor): Level B Evidence
    1. Effective, but considered a second-line agent due to more adverse effects
    2. Effexor has similar efficacy in Migraine Prophylaxis to Tricyclic Antidepressants
    3. Consider in patients with comorbid Tension Headaches
    4. Start: 10 mg orally at bedtime
    5. Increase by 10 mg each week until at least 30 mg, and preferably 50-100 mg at bedtime
  3. Valproic Acid and derivatives: Level A Evidence
    1. Teratogenic (avoid in women at risk for pregnancy)
    2. See description for adverse effects and monitoring
    3. Depakote Extended Release (ER) start 500 mg orally daily
      1. Increase after 1 week to 500 mg orally twice daily
      2. May increase in 250 mg increments if adverse effects
      3. Preferred Valproate form for Migraine Prophylaxis
    4. Other preparations
      1. Divalproex Sodium (Depakote) 250-500 mg orally twice daily
      2. Valproic Acid (Depakene) 250-500 mg twice daily
  4. Topiramate (Topamax): Level A Evidence
    1. Teratogenic (avoid in women at risk for pregnancy)
    2. May blunt cognitive function and cause weight loss
    3. Dosing
      1. Bedtime dosing
        1. Start: 12.5 to 25 mg orally at bedtime
        2. Increase by 12.5 to 25 mg each week, until at 100 mg at bedtime
      2. Alternative twice daily dosing
        1. Start: 12.5 to 25 mg orally at bedtime for 1 week
        2. Next: 25 mg orally twice daily for 1 week
        3. Next: 25 mg orally in AM and 50 mg orally in PM for 1 week
        4. Next: 50 mg orally twice daily
    4. Efficacy
      1. Effective prophylaxis at 100-200 mg per day
      2. Silberstein (2004) Arch Neurol 61:490-5 [PubMed]
      3. Brandes (2004) JAMA 291:965-73 [PubMed]
  1. General
    1. Biologic agents released in 2018 to block the CGRP vasodilator
    2. Indicated in Migraines refractory to first-line Migraine Prophylaxis
    3. Reduces migraine Incidence by 2 fewer Migraine days/month
    4. Expensive ($6900/year)
  2. Preparations
    1. Aimovig (Erenumab)
      1. Autoinjector once monthly
    2. Ajovy (Fremanezumab)
      1. Three injections from prefilled syringes once every 3 months
    3. Emgality (Galcanezumab)
      1. Once monthly injection via pen
  3. References
    1. (2018) Presc Lett 25(12): 70
  • Preparations
  • Antihypertensives
  1. Most effective agents - All are Beta Blockers (Level A evidence)
    1. Propranolol (Inderal)
      1. Start at 80 mg and titrate to effect up to 320 mg orally daily
      2. Use long acting (LA) once daily or divide two to three times daily with short acting
    2. Timolol
      1. Start at 10-15 mg orally once daily
      2. Increase to 20-30 mg orally daily or divided twice daily
    3. Metoprolol (Toprol XL, Lopressor)
      1. Start at 25-50 mg orally daily (succinate) or divided twice daily (tartrate)
      2. Titrate dose to effect up to 200 mg/day
  2. Probably effective - All are Beta Blockers (Level B evidence)
    1. Atenolol start 25 mg at bedtime
      1. May increase after 1 week to 50 mg at bedtime
      2. Consider divided dosing 50 mg twice daily or 100 mg once daily
    2. Nadolol
      1. Start 40 mg orally daily
      2. Increase by 40 mg weekly to 120 mg typical dose (up to 160 mg daily)
  3. Possibly effective (Level C)
    1. Lisinopril
      1. Migraine without Aura associated with high ACE Level
      2. Schrader (2001) BMJ 322:19-23 [PubMed]
    2. Nebivolol (Bystolic)
    3. Candesartan
    4. Clonidine
    5. Guanfacine
  4. Inadequate evidence
    1. Bisoprolol (Zebeta)
    2. Acetazolamide (Diamox)
    3. Calcium Channel Blockers
      1. Verapamil
      2. Nicardipine
      3. Nifedipine
      4. Nimodipine
  5. Ineffective (avoid)
    1. Acebutolol (Sectral)
    2. Telmisartan (Micardis)
  • Preparations
  • Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
  1. Risk of Analgesic Overuse Headache
  2. Probably effective (Level B)
    1. Naproxen
    2. NaproxenSodium (Anaprox) 550 mg twice daily
    3. Fenoprofen
    4. Ketoprofen
    5. Ibuprofen
  3. Possibly effective (Level C)
    1. Flurbiprofen
    2. Mefenamic acid
  4. Unknown Efficacy
    1. Aspirin
    2. Indomethacin
  5. Ineffective
    1. Nabumetone (Relafen)
  1. Probably effective (Level B evidence)
    1. Amitriptyline (Elavil) 30 to 150 mg orally daily
    2. Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  2. Inadequate evidence
    1. Fluvoxamine
    2. Protriptyline
    3. Fluoxetine (Prozac) 20-40 mg orally daily
      1. Headache worsens in 30% of cases
      2. Steiner (1998) Cephalalgia 18:283-6 [PubMed]
  3. Ineffective agents (avoid)
    1. Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Preparations
  • Anticonvulsants
  1. Most effective agents (Level A Evidence)
    1. Valproic Acid (Depakote) 250 to 750 mg orally twice daily
    2. Topiramate (Topamax)
  2. Possibly effective (Level C evidence)
    1. Carbamazepine
  3. Inadequate evidence
    1. Gabapentin
  4. Ineffective (avoid)
    1. Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
    2. Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
  1. Most effective (Level A)
    1. Petasites hybridus (Butterbur): Petadolex 50-75 mg orally twice daily
      1. May reduce Migraine frequency by 50%
      2. GI intolerance is common (and hepatotoxicity risk)
      3. Lipton (2004) Neurology 63:2240-4 [PubMed]
  2. Probably effective (Level B)
    1. Relaxation Training, Biofeedback, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    2. Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew) 50 to 82 mg daily
    3. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 400 mg orally daily
      1. Schoenen (1998) Neurology 50:466-70 [PubMed]
    4. Acupuncture
      1. Appears as effective as standard Migraine Prophylaxis medications
      2. See Acupuncture for additional studies
      3. Da Silva (2015) Headache 55(3): 470-3 [PubMed]
  3. Possibly effective (Level C)
    1. Coenzyme Q10 100 mg orally three times daily
      1. Reduces Migraines by a third
      2. Sandor (2005) Neurology 64:713-5 [PubMed]
    2. Magnesium Oxide 300 mg daily or Magnesium Dicitrate 600 mg daily
      1. May also assist with Migraine medication-induced Constipation
      2. May reduce severity and duration of Migraines
      3. Wang (2004) Headache 43(6):601-10 [PubMed]
  • Preparations
  • Miscellaneous
  1. Probably effective (Level B)
    1. N-alpha-methyl Histamine
      1. Dose 1-10 ng twice weekly sq injection
      2. Millan-Guerrero (2006) Can J Neurol 33: 195-99 [PubMed]
    2. Botulinum Toxin A injections
      1. Third-line option after 2-3 failed prophylactic agents
      2. Indicated in chronic Migraines but not episodic Migraines
      3. Injection sites
        1. Occiput (Occipitalis muscle)
        2. Posterior Neck (Cervical paraspinal, trapezius muscle)
        3. Parietal, supraauricular (Temporalis muscle)
        4. Frontal forehead (Corrugator, Procerus, Frontalis muscles)
      4. FDA approved for chronic Migraines since 2010
      5. Best effect after 3 cycles of injection
      6. Silberstein (2014) J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry [PubMed]
  2. Possibly effective (Level C)
    1. Cyproheptadine (Periactin) 4-16 mg orally daily
      1. Serotonin Agonist
  3. Inadequate evidence
    1. Lithium Carbonate (Lithobid) 300 mg PO bid-tid
    2. Anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents
      1. Cyclandilate
      2. Coumadin
      3. Picotamide
      4. Acenocoumarol
  4. Ineffective (avoid)
    1. Clonazepam
    2. Montelukast