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J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2002 Feb;102(2):92-4.

Divalproex sodium in the treatment of migraine and cluster headaches.

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  • 1University Headache Center, Moorestown, NJ 08057-1550, USA.


The discovery of a new class of effective migraine-abortive medications, the triptans, has sparked a new interest in the study of vascular headache. Over the past few years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved six new abortive pharmacologic therapies, with several others in various stages of clinical trials. Unfortunately, concurrent pharmacologic changes in headache prophylaxis have not kept pace with their abortive counterparts. However, divalproex sodium (Depakote), which is approved by the FDA as a migraine prophylactic agent, is the first in the anticonvulsant class of medication for migraine headache and has expanded the options in headache treatment. The objective of this retrospective multicenter study of 284 patients with migraine or cluster headaches was to examine the clinical efficacy and safety of divalproex sodium as prophylaxis in monotherapy and in polytherapy. Sixty-one percent of migraineurs and 73% of cluster patients noted a decrease in pain with divalproex sodium and continued that therapy for more than 3 months. Reported negative side effects included weight gain, nausea, somnolence, tremor, alopecia, dysequilibrium, and rash. However, only 14% of subjects discontinued therapy due to these side effects. Overall, divalproex sodium was found to be an effective and generally well-tolerated prophylactic treatment option as monotherapy or in polytherapy for migraine and cluster headache.

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