In preventing migraine attacks, Candesartan is just as effective as more the commonly prescribed propranolol, suggests study.
The researchers also found that candesartan may work for patients who get no relief from propranolol.
Professor Lars Jacob Stovner, leader of Norwegian National Headache Centre, who also led the study, said that this gives doctors more possibilities.
Candesartan is already in use by several doctors as a migraine prophylactic, but the NTNU follow-up study, which confirms the study from a decade ago, provides the proof that the drug actually works.
More than 20 percent of migraine patients report that they feel better even when they are given a placebo. But blind tests show that candesartan works preventively for another 20 to 30 percent of patients. The hope is now that candesartan will be even more commonly prescribed.
The NTNU study was a triple blind test, which means that neither patients nor doctors nor those who analyzed the results knew whether the patients had been given placebo or real medicine, Stovner said.
Researchers tested both candesartan and propranolol. In all, 72 patients took part of the study this time, the same number as ten years ago. These patients were normally affected by migraine attacks at least twice every month.
The patients used each treatment (candesartan, propranolol or placebo) for 12 weeks, and also underwent four weeks before start and between the treatment periods without any medication at all. Thus every patient was part of the study for almost a year.