Context: Small open-label and controlled trials suggest that the antiepileptic drug topiramate is effective for migraine prevention.
Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of topiramate for migraine prevention in a large controlled trial.
Design, setting, and patients: A 26-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted during outpatient treatment at 52 North American clinical centers. Patients were aged 12 to 65 years and had a 6-month history of migraine (International Headache Society criteria) and 3 to 12 migraines a month but no more than 15 headache days a month during a 28-day prospective baseline phase.
Interventions: After a washout period, patients meeting entry criteria were randomized to topiramate (50, 100, or 200 mg/d) or placebo. Topiramate was titrated by 25 mg/wk for 8 weeks to the assigned or maximum tolerated dose, whichever was less. Patients continued receiving that dose for 18 weeks.
Main outcome measures: The primary efficacy measure was change from baseline in mean monthly migraine frequency. Secondary efficacy measures included responder rate (proportion of patients with > or =50% reduction in monthly migraine frequency), reductions in mean number of monthly migraine days, severity, duration, and days a month requiring rescue medication, and adverse events. The month of onset of preventive treatment action was assessed.
Results: Of 483 patients randomized, 468 provided at least 1 postbaseline efficacy assessment and comprised the intent-to-treat population. Mean monthly migraine frequency decreased significantly for patients receiving topiramate at 100 mg/d (-2.1, P =.008) and topiramate at 200 mg/d (-2.4, P<.001) vs placebo (-1.1). Statistically significant reductions (P<.05) occurred within the first month with topiramate at 100 and 200 mg/d. The responder rate was significantly greater with topiramate at 50 mg/d (39%, P =.01), 100 mg/d (49%, P<.001), and 200 mg/d (47%, P<.001) vs placebo (23%). Reductions in migraine days were significant for the 100-mg/d (P =.003) and 200-mg/d (P<.001) topiramate groups. Rescue medication use was reduced in the 100-mg/d (P =.01) and 200-mg/d (P =.005) topiramate groups. Adverse events resulting in discontinuation in the topiramate groups included paresthesia, fatigue, and nausea.
Conclusion: Topiramate showed significant efficacy in migraine prevention within the first month of treatment, an effect maintained for the duration of the double-blind phase.