Alzheimer’s drug may be the new treatment for migraine headaches

A common drug used in Alzheimer’s treatment seems to be effective in the prophylactic treatment of migraine headaches, researchers found out.

Headache / Migraine

Headache is a widespread disease and one of the most common reasons to visit a neurologist. It occurs in different types and strengths. The treatment includes… read more

The Study

The researchers included 60 migraine (without aura) patients in the study. Half received a drug which is commonly used in the treatment of dementia, Memantine. The other half received a placebo. The study was published in “Headache” The Journal of Head and Face Pain.

Memantine is a so called NMDA-Antagonist. Meaning, this drug blocks the effect of a certain neurotransmitter in the brain called glutamate. Glutamate is “activating” nerve cells in the brain. Researchers believe that an over activity in certain parts of the brain could be the cause of migraine. If Memantine could stop the over activity, it might reduce the headache.

The Results

Migraine patients receiving Memantine suffered significantly less days from migraine, were less days absent from work, felt the attacks less severe and felt less disabled by the headache.

The Conclusion

The researchers said “Memantine might be a tolerable and efficacious option for prophylaxis in patients with migraine without aura”. However, further research is needed due to the small size of the study.