Flunarizine in primary headache disorders

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SCIENCE
Flunarizine in primary headache disorders
Key Take-Away: 

Flunarizine is a calcium antagonist drug. This is an overall intensive study that has drawn the proficiency of flunarizine, thus proving it as a highly effective and long term safe drug to deal with migraine headaches. 

Flunarizine is a widely used migraine preventive not licensed in the UK. 

ABSTRACT: 
Background: 

Flunarizine is a widely used migraine preventive not licensed in the UK. In September 2014, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published supportive guidelines for flunarizine use in migraine based on available randomised controlled evidence.

Methods: 

To collect data for an audit of flunarizine use from our tertiary headache practice in the UK over twenty years, to try to establish indications for its use, typical doses, short and long term side effects, and treatment outcomes, including changes in acute treatment use and change in frequency and intensity of headache on treatment.

Results: 

For the first 30 patients audited the most common indication for flunarizine was chronic migraine, followed by migraine with aura, sporadic hemiplegic migraine and familial hemiplegic migraine and then new persistent daily headache of a migrainous type. Doses up to 15mg were generally well tolerated, with only five patients stopping treatment due to adverse effects. Flunarizine is generally effective; with only three patients reporting no clinical effect: two had hemiplegic migraine and one chronic migraine. The commonest dose used was 10mg and a significant proportion of patients continued treatment for more than one year.

Conclusion: 

Flunarizine is an effective, well tolerated migraine preventive that can be used for extended periods in a range of migraine sub-types.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2015; 86: e4

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