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Complementary Treatment for Migraine Headaches

In April of this year, the American Academy of Neurology published a study in their profession publication "Neurology" detailing evidence based guidelines for complimentary treatments for prevention of migraine headaches.

The purpose of this study was to determine updated evidence based recommendations for preventive treatment to those suffering with migraine headaches.  The researchers asked the question: For patients with migraines, which complementary treatments are effective for prevention, as measured by reduced migraine attack frequency, reduced number of migraine days, or reduced attack severity? According to The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Advisory Group studies suggest approximately 38% of migraine sufferes need preventive therapy, but only 3%–13% currently use it. The following are suggestions made by the study: One highly effective herb is Petasites (butterbur).  After taking it for four weeks, the users of this herb showed a 60% decrease in frequency of headaches suffered versus the placebo.  The percentage of frequency continued to drop, but not at a lower percentage over the next 4 months the subjects were followed. The use of Omega -3 did not show a decrease of frequency during the four week study but subjects reported fewer headaches over the next four months of use. MIG-99 is a relatively new stable extract of tanacetum parthenium (feverfew).  In this study it showed a decrease in frequency by just under 50% over the 4 weeks.  The decrease in frequency remained the same over the following 4 months.  This suggests, unlike the Butterbur and Omega-3 that the success rate a person will achieve is found within the first 4 weeks of treatment and will continue as such without notable improvement when they continue using it. 50% of the subjects reported a decrease of frequency of 47.6% with the use of water soluble Co-Q10. The following is a summary from the article.

  • Petasites (butterbur) is established as effective for migraine prevention.

  • Riboflavin is probably effective for migraine prevention.

  • Co-Q10 is possibly effective for migraine prevention.

  • A combination of soy isoflavones (60 mg), dong quai (100 mg), and black cohosh (50 mg) is possibly effective for migraine prevention. Percutaneous estradiol is possibly effective for migraine prevention; however, there is an increased risk of migraine recurring after estradiol patch discontinuation.

  • Magnesium is probably effective for migraine prevention (multiple Class II trials). MIG-99 (feverfew) is probably effective for migraine prevention.

  • The efficacy of HBO (hyberberic oxygen) for migraine prevention is unclear.

  • The efficacy of omega-3 for migraine prevention is unclear.

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