Non-CGRP Antagonist/Non-Triptan Options for Migraine Disease Treatment: Clinical Considerations

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Current Pain and Headache Reports


Purpose of Review: Although the association between CGRP and migraine disease is well-known and studied, therapies can target other pathways to minimize migraine symptoms. It is important to understand the role of these medications as options for migraine treatment and the varied mechanisms by which symptoms can be addressed. In the present investigation, the role of non-CGRP antagonist/non-triptan options for migraine disease therapy is reviewed, including NSAIDs, ß-blockers, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, and antiepileptics. Pharmacologic therapies for both acute symptoms and prophylaxis are evaluated, and their adverse effects are compared. Recent Findings: At present, the Food and Drug Association has approved the beta-blockers propranolol and timolol and the anti-epileptic drugs topiramate and divalproex sodium for migraine prevention. Clinicians have other options for evidence-based treatment of episodic migraine attacks. Treatment decisions should consider contraindications, the effectiveness of alternatives, and potential side effects. Summary: NSAIDs are effective for the acute treatment of migraine exacerbations with caution for adverse effects such as gastrointestinal upset and renal symptoms. Beta-blockers are effective for migraine attack prophylaxis but are associated with dizziness and fatigue and are contraindicated in patients with certain co-morbidities, including asthma, congestive heart failure, and abnormal cardiac rhythms. Calcium channel blockers do not show enough evidence to be recommended as migraine attack prophylactic therapy. The anti-epileptic drugs topiramate and divalproex sodium and antidepressants venlafaxine and amitriptyline are effective for migraine exacerbation prophylaxis but have associated side effects. The decision for pharmacologic management should ultimately be made following consideration of risk vs. benefit and discussion between patient and physician.

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