Objectives: We aimed to assess the efficacy of greater occipital nerve (GON) blockade at chronic migraine (CM) treatment.
Materials and methods: Patients with CM were randomly divided into two groups of 42. GON blockade was administered four times (once per week) with saline in group A or bupivacaine in group B. After 4 weeks of treatment, blinding was removed; in group A, GON blockade was achieved using bupivacaine, while group B continued to receive bupivacaine, and blockade was administered once per month, then followed for 2 months. Primary endpoint was the difference in number of headache days, duration of headache, and pain scores.
Results: Seventy-two of 84 patients completed the study. After 1 month of treatment, number of headache days had decreased from 16.9 ± 5.7 to 13.2 ± 6.7 in group A (P = 0.035) and from 18.1 ± 5.3 to 8.8 ± 4.8 in group B (P < 0.001), (P = 0.004, between groups); duration of headache (hour) had decreased from 24.2 ± 13.7 to 21.2 ± 13.4 in group A (P = 0.223) and from 25.9 ± 16.3 to 19.3 ± 11.5 in group B (P < 0.001), (P = 0.767, between groups). VAS score decreased from 8.1 ± 0.9 to 6.7 ± 1.6 in group A (P = 0.002) and from 8.4 ± 1.5 to 5.3 ± 2.1 in group B (P < 0.001), (P = 0.004, between groups). After blinding was removed (in 2nd and 3rd month), group A exhibited similar results like group B in 3rd month.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that GON blockade with bupivacaine was superior to placebo and was found to be effective, safe, and cost-effective for the treatment of CM. According to our knowledge, this is the first randomized, multicentre, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study in the literature in this field of work.
Keywords: greater occipital nerve block; headache; migraine.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.