Migraines are headaches that are vascular in nature, meaning there is an involvement with blood vessels that causes pain, so it only makes sense that blood pressure medication might show promise in treating them.

A new study from St. Olavs Hospital in Trondheim, Norway and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found that the blood pressure medication candesartan was just as effective as preventatively treating migraine headaches as was the more commonly prescribed medication propanolol.

Migraines affect approximately 1 billion people worldwide, and this study offers hope for another treatment. 20% of patients report feeling better after receiving a placebo for migraine pain, but in this triple-blind study, an additional 20 to 30% of patients reported feeling relief. In a triple-blind study, the patients, doctors, and researchers analyzing the data do not know who has received what medications and are thus unable to influence the research findings in any way.

This study was a follow-up to a study done 10 years ago by NTNU that followed the same protocol. 72 patients participated for approximately 1 year, each given medication or a placebo for the same period of time, with the results measured.

“This gives doctors more possibilities and we can help more people,” says Professor Lars Jacob Stovner, leader of Norwegian National Headache Centre, who also led the study.

Candesartan was originally studied by Harald Schrader, a retired professor from St. Olavs Hospital in Trondheim. Schrader suffered from both high blood pressure and migraines and found that candesartan worked to not only help regulate his blood pressure but to also provide migraine relief.

This new study was funded in part by the drug maker AstraZeneca but the researchers were independent. The patent is also running out on the brand name Atacand, which means that patients who have an adverse reaction to propranolol, or who get no relief, will now have another option that is even more affordable.

Would you try this medication for migraine relief?

Image by Morgan via Flickr


Weekly updates on conditions, treatments, and news about everything happening inside pain medicine.

You have Successfully Subscribed!