A migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
For some people, a warning symptom known as an aura occurs before or with the headache. An aura can include visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or blind spots, or other disturbances, such as tingling on one side of the face or in an arm or leg and difficulty speaking.
Medications can help prevent some migraines and make them less painful. The right medicines, combined with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes, might help.
There are a number of migraine triggers, including:
- Hormonal changes in women. Fluctuations in estrogen, such as before or during menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause, seem to trigger headaches in many women.Hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives, also can worsen migraines. Some women, however, find that their migraines occur less often when taking these medications.
- Drinks. These include alcohol, especially wine, and too much caffeine, such as coffee.
- Stress. Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
- Sensory stimuli. Bright or flashing lights can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — such as perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — trigger migraines in some people.
- Sleep changes. Missing sleep or getting too much sleep can trigger migraines in some people.
- Physical factors. Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, might provoke migraines.
- Weather changes. A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
- Medications. Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.
- Foods. Aged cheeses and salty and processed foods might trigger migraines. So might skipping meals.
- Food additives. These include the sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in many foods.
In an Research, Patients were started on one 300-mg capsule of gabapentin or matching placebo, and then were titrated weekly from 900 mg/day (end of week 1) to 2400 mg/day (end of week 4) and had to be receiving a stable dose of study medication by the end of the titration period.
At seven participating centers, 143 patients with migraine were randomized in a 2:1 ratio and received either gabapentin (n = 98) or matching placebo (n = 45). Thirty-three patients (24.1%) discontinued prematurely from the study, including 24 (24.5%) of 98 gabapentin-treated patients and 9 (20.0%) of 45 placebo-treated patients; the majority of patients discontinued due to adverse events (16 [16.3%] of 98 gabapentin-treated patients; 4 [8.9%] of 45 placebo-treated patients).
Patients included in the analysis were evenly balanced for age, sex, race, weight, and height. The majority of these patients were white (80 [92.0%] of 87) and women (72 [82.8%] of 87), with a mean age of approximately 39.4 years and a history of migraine episodes for a mean of about 21 years.
At the end of the 12-week treatment phase, the median 4-week migraine rate was 2.7 for the gabapentin-treated patients maintained on a stable dose of 2400 mg/day and 3.5 for the placebo-treated patients (P =.006), compared with 4.2 and 4.1, respectively, during the baseline period. Additionally, 26 (46.4%) of 56 patients receiving a stable dose of 2400 mg/day gabapentin and 5 (16.1%) of 31 patients receiving placebo showed at least a 50% reduction in the 4-week migraine rate (P =.008).
The average number of days per 4 weeks with migraine was also statistically significant and favored gabapentin (P =.006) during stabilization period 2. The median change in 4-week headache rate was statistically significant as well (P =.013). The most frequently reported adverse events for both treatment groups were asthenia, dizziness, somnolence, and infection. Adverse events determined by the investigator to be associated with study drug resulted in patient withdrawal in 13 (13.3%) of 98 gabapentin-treated patients and 3 (6.7%) of 45 placebo-treated patients.
Somnolence and dizziness accounted for many of the premature withdrawals among those taking gabapentin.
Gabapentin is an effective prophylactic agent for patients with migraine. In addition, gabapentin appears generally well tolerated with mild to moderate somnolence and dizziness.
The Study can be found here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11251695