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Verapamil and Cluster Headache: Still a Mystery. A Narrative Review of Efficacy, Mechanisms and Perspectives

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewpeer review


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Vis graf over relationer

OBJECTIVE: A evaluation of the effect of verapamil and other calcium channel blockers in cluster headache (CH) treatment and an investigation of possible effect mechanisms.

BACKGROUND: Verapamil has been used in the prevention of CH for almost 3 decades, however, the mode of action and therapeutic target is still unknown.

METHODS: A Pubmed search was conducted: "Verapamil"[Mesh] and "Cluster Headache"[Mesh]. We identified 5 relevant studies for CH. Publications were included if they made a substantial contribution within 3 prespecified areas: Efficacy (randomized controlled-trials or open labels studies), safety, and mechanism of effect.

RESULTS: Clinical effect: Clinical preventive treatment of CH with verapamil is based on 2 randomized controlled studies and 3 open-label studies. In total, 183 CH patients participated. Verapamil 360 mg/day was used in both controlled studies. Half of the chronic patients experienced benefit from verapamil treatment and the attack burden of episodic patients was, on average, reduced by 1 attack/day. Open-label studies support a dose-dependent level of efficacy. Mechanism of effect: Human and animal studies indicate that verapamil may exert its effect by modulating circadian rhythms, perhaps in central pacemakers, and/or by affecting release of calcitonin gene-related peptide.

CONCLUSION: Verapamil appears to be an effective prophylactic drug in the treatment of CH and despite the scarcity of controlled trials, it is still the drug of choice. A chronotherapeutic approach might increase the effect. More basic and pharmacokinetic research is needed before the mechanism can be fully understood.

Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)1198-1211
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2019

Bibliografisk note

© 2019 American Headache Society.

ID: 57654736