• migraine;
  • ACE inhibitors;
  • triptans



Since a few case reports have demonstrated some beneficial effects of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors in migraine prevention, we were interested in studying the impact of ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor antagonists (Ang II) on the consumption of specific abortive migraine drugs and, therefore, indirectly on the frequency of migraine attacks.


Data from a large prescription database involving 95 patients initiating a specific abortive migraine drug (ergotamine or a triptan) and subsequently treated with either an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor antagonist (index group: ACE/Ang II) or diuretic (reference group) were analysed. The effects of ACE/Ang II inhibition as well as diuretic therapy on reducing the frequency of migraine attacks were assessed by measuring the mean consumption of abortive migraine drug use, in DDDs per month (‘therapeutic intensity’), before, during and after ACE/Ang II or diuretic therapy. A ‘therapeutic fluctuation intensity estimate’ of abortive migraine drug use for all patients was likewise calculated.


On an individual level, the therapeutic intensity (TI) fluctuation estimate, ‘during’ relative to ‘before’ ACE diuretic therapy, was significantly larger for the ACE/Ang II group (62% reduction) than for the diuretic group (24% reduction) (p = 0.02). For patients who continued abortive migraine drug use during and after ACE/Ang II or diuretic therapy, a significantly larger reduction in this estimate was observed during ACE/Ang II inhibition (68.9%) compared to during diuretic therapy (10.5% increase) (p = 0.004). The TI fluctuation estimate, after relative to ‘during’, had increased by 50.3% after ACE/Ang II inhibition and had reduced by 22.2% after diuretic treatment (p = 0.1).


A clear reduction in the TI of abortive migraine drug use during the use of ACE inhibitors as compared to diuretic treatment was observed. Our findings may indirectly support a positive effect of ACE/Ang II inhibition on the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, as observed in other studies and reports. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.