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A comparative study of magnesium, flunarizine and amitriptyline in the prophylaxis of migraine


Circumstantial evidence points to the possible role of magnesium (Mg+2) deficiency in the pathogenesis of migraine and has raised questions about the clinical utility of magnesium as a therapeutic regimen in migraine. This was a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing the efficacy and tolerability of 1830 mg magnesium citrate (23 patients), 10 mg flunarizine (22 patients) and 10 amitriptyline (20 patients) in the prophylaxis of migraine diagnosed according to the criteria of the International Headache Society. Patients were evaluated for attack frequency, severity and drug side effects monthly for 3 months. Magnesium, flunarizine and amitriptyline were all superior to placebo (p<0.001) in reducint both attack frequency and severity after the first month. There was no significant difference between the 3 active drugs in reduction of attack frequency and severity. No serious side effects were observed and the frequencies of side effects were not significantly different in all treatment groups. Our results show that oral magnesium is an effective and well tolerated drug in the prophylaxis of migraine and compares well to established drugs like flunarizine and amitriptyline both in effectiveness and occurence of side effects. Magnesium may be an alternative drug in migraine prophylaxis, but more and larger comparative trials are needed to confirm these results.

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Received: 28 August 2000 / Accepted in revised form: 10 January 2001

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Demirkaya, S., Dora, B., Topcuoglu, M. et al. A comparative study of magnesium, flunarizine and amitriptyline in the prophylaxis of migraine. J Headache Pain 1, 179–186 (2000).

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