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How many migraine patients need prolonged (>1 year) preventive treatment? Experience with topiramate


The usual recommended duration of preventive treatment for migraine is 3–6 months. Our aim was to explore how many patients attending a specialised clinic need prolonged preventive treatment for longer than one year. Eighty consecutive migraine patients who received preventive treatment with topiramate for 3 months with good response and tolerability were included in this observational study. All patients continued on topiramate until they had completed 6 months, when this drug was stopped. Topiramate was reintroduced if there was a worsening. Topiramate was kept for 6 more months and then discontinued again. Those patients whose headaches became worse after this second withdrawal received topiramate again and were followed-up for at least half a year. Headaches did not worsen after the first withdrawal at 6 months in 40 patients (50%), while they clearly worsened in the remaining 40 patients. At the end of the first year only two patients out of these 40 (5%) discontinued topiramate and did not notice an increase in headache frequency after two months. In conclusion, around half of the patients attending a specialised clinic due to frequent headache need preventive treatment for more than one year. Our data suggest that the current practice recommending periods of preventive treatment of 3–6 months should be reconsidered for many patients.

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Correspondence to J. Pascual.

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Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License ( ), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Pascual, J., el Berdei, Y. & Gómez-Sánchez, J.C. How many migraine patients need prolonged (>1 year) preventive treatment? Experience with topiramate. J Headache Pain 8, 90–93 (2007).

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