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Pain Med. 2010 Jan;11(1):48-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2009.00757.x. Epub 2009 Dec 9.

An open pilot study assessing the benefits of quetiapine for the prevention of migraine refractory to the combination of atenolol, nortriptyline, and flunarizine.

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1
Headache Center of Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. abouchkrym@uol.com.br

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Migraine is a prevalent neurological disorder. Although prevention is the core of treatment for most, some patients are refractory to standard therapies. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to evaluate the use of Quetiapine (QTP) in the preventive treatment of refractory migraine, defined as previous unresponsiveness to the combination of atenolol, nortriptyline, and flunarizine.

METHODS:

Thirty-four consecutive patients (30 women and 4 men) with migraine (ICHD-II), fewer than 15 days of headache per month, and not overusing symptomatic medications were studied. All participants had failed to the combination of atenolol (60 mg/day), nortriptyline (25 mg/day), and flunarizine (3 mg/day). Failure was defined as <50% reduction in attack frequency after 10 weeks of treatment. After other medications were discontinued, QTP was initiated at a single daily dose of 25 mg, and then titrated to 75 mg. After 10 weeks, headache frequency, consumption of rescue medications, and adverse events were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Twenty-nine patients completed the study. Three patients withdrew and two were lost to follow-up. Among those who completed, 22 (75.9%; 64.7% of the intention-to-treat population) had greater than 50% headache reduction. The mean frequency of migraine days decreased from 10.2 to 6.2 per month. Use of rescue medications decreased from 2.3 to 1.2 days/week. Adverse events were reported by nine (31%) patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although limited by the open design, this study provides pilot data to support the use of QTP in the preventive treatment of refractory migraine. Controlled studies are necessary to confirm these observations.

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