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An open-label pilot study on the efficacy and tolerability of levetiracetam in the prophylaxis of migraine

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A preliminary, open label study was conducted on 20 patients with migraine without aura and with high headache frequency to assess the efficacy and tolerability of the new antiepileptic drug levetiracetam. Patients were treated with levetiracetam for three months. The drug was started at a dose of 500 mg and slowly increased within 10 days to the target dose of 2000 mg/day. After 3 months of treatment, 11 (57.9%) of 19 patients who completed the study had a reduction of at least 50% in headache frequency. The intensity of migraine attacks was significantly reduced as was the use of symptomatic drugs. A 3-month carry-over effect was found in about two-thirds of the 11 patients reporting a positive treatment response. Levetiracetam was well tolerated and no patient discontinued the drug due to side effects. This preliminary study supports the potential role of levetiracetam as a new preventive treatment for migraine without aura. The promising results obtained should be confirmed by further research with a double-blind controlled design.

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Correspondence to Virgilio Gallai.

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Key words

  • Levetiracetam
  • Migraine without aura
  • Prophylaxis
  • Open label study


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