Testing the combination beta-blocker plus topiramate in refractory migraine


Julio Pascual, Service of Neurology, University Hospital, Paseo de San Vicente 58-132, 37007 Salamanca, Spain
Tel.: +34923291334
Fax: +34923291333
e-mail: juliopascual@telefonica.net


Objective –  To test treatment combining a beta-blocker plus topiramate in migraine patients previously resistant to the two medications in monotherapy.

Patients and methods –  Those patients who had not responded to a beta-blocker and topiramate received combined treatment.

Results –  Fifty-eight patients (47 women, age 25–76 years) received the combined treatment. Thirty-three (57%) met criteria for chronic migraine/medication overuse headache, 18 (31%) for migraine without aura and seven (12%) with aura. Ten (17%) discontinued due to adverse events. Among the 48 patients who tolerated the combination, 36 (75%, 62% of the total series) showed response (>50% reduction in frequency), while 12 (25%) did not. The number of days with headache/month decreased from 15.1 to 6.5 (−57%). Sixteen (44% of responders) showed an excellent (>75%) response. Eighteen patients (38%) experienced a total of 26 adverse events (mild-moderate).

Conclusions –  The combination of beta-blocker plus topiramate showed a benefit in around 60% of patients who had not previously responded to monotherapy. Adverse events led to discontinuation in one out of six patients. From these open results, it seems reasonable to recommend this combination, complementary in terms of mechanism of action, as a potential strategy in patients with refractory migraine.