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A study to compare independent groups of patients with episodic migraine who were treated preventively with flunarizine or nadolol
INTRODUCTION. Flunarizine, with level of evidence A, and nadolol, with evidence level C, would be indicated as preventive treatment of migraine. Yet, no previous studies have been conducted to compare the effectiveness of the two drugs.
AIM. To compare the effectiveness parameters in independent groups of patients treated preventively with one of the pharmaceuticals from the study, the same protocol being applied in both cases.
PATIENTS AND METHODS. The subjects selected for the study were patients with episodic migraine (according to 2004 International Headache Society criteria) who had undergone preventive treatment for the first time, with flunarizine (5 mg/day) or nadolol (20-40 mg/day). The main effectiveness variables (reduction in the number of seizures at four months of treatment and responder rates) were analysed.
RESULTS. The study included 227 patients who intended to receive treatment: 155 with flunarizine (80.5% females; mean age: 38.3 ± 12.1 years) and 72 with nadolol (63.8% females; mean age: 37.1 ± 12.0 years). The mean number of seizures prior to treatment was 6.09 ± 2.6 in the flunarizine group and 5.1 ± 1.7 in the nadolol group (p = 0.0079); at four months of treatment it was 2.61 ± 2.4 in the flunarizine group and 2.77 ± 2.4 in the nadolol group (p = NS). Percentage of reduction of migraines: 55.2% with flunarizine and 50.4% with nadolol (p = NS). The responder rate was 69% with flunarizine and 67% with nadolol (p = NS). The excellent response rate (reduction in the number of seizures by 75% or more) was 52.2% with flunarizine and 36.1% with nadolol (p = 0.0077). Percentage of adverse side effects: 48.3% with flunarizine and 25% with nadolol (p = 0.0009). The satisfaction rate was similar in both groups, 68%.