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The Role Of Calcium Channel Blocking Agents In The Prevention Of Migraine

Mary E. Schuler, Morton P. Goldman, Mark A. Munger

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Vascular headache pathophysiology and manifestations are reviewed along with the role that calcium channel blocking agents play in prevention of these vascular headaches. Of the calcium channel blockers presently marketed in the U.S., verapamil has been the most widely studied. Verapamil has been shown to produce a significant improvement in frequency and duration of migraine as compared with placebo. Calcium channel blocking agents that have been studied and used outside of the U.S. are flunarizine and nimodipine, both of which provide significant improvement in measures of migraine severity, duration, frequency, and other pain and severity indices. There have been no controlled trials comparing these agents with each other as with beta-blocking agents and other prophylactic agents presently marketed in the U.S. Calcium channel blocking agents may become the drugs of first choice in migraine prophylaxis due to their effectiveness and mild side effect profile.