What is known and objective: Migraine headache is a relatively common, debilitating condition that costs our healthcare system over 78 billion dollars per year. Riboflavin has been advocated as a safe, effective prophylactic therapy for the prevention of migraines. The purpose of this study was to provide a systematic review of the current role of riboflavin in the prophylaxis of migraine headache.
Methods: A MEDLINE literature search inclusive of the dates 1966-2016 was performed using the search terms: riboflavin and migraine disorders. Excerpta Medica was searched from 1980 to 2016 using the search terms: riboflavin and migraine. Additionally, Web of Science was searched using the terms riboflavin and migraine inclusive of 1945-2016. Bibliographies of all relevant papers were reviewed for additional citations. We utilized the PRISMA guidelines to select English language, human, clinical trials of riboflavin as a single entity or in combination, review articles, and supporting pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenomic data assessing the efficacy and mechanism of riboflavin therapy in the prophylactic treatment of migraine headache.
Results and discussion: A total of 11 clinical trials reveal a mixed effect of riboflavin in the prophylaxis of migraine headache. Five clinical trials show a consistent positive therapeutic effect in adults; four clinical trials show a mixed effect in paediatric and adolescent patients, and two clinical trials of combination therapy have not shown benefit. Adverse reactions with riboflavin have generally been mild.
What is new and conclusion: Riboflavin is well tolerated, inexpensive and has demonstrated efficacy in the reduction of adult patient's migraine headache frequency. Additional data are needed, however, to resolve questions involving pharmacokinetic issues and pharmacogenomic implications of therapy.
Keywords: migraine; pharmacogenomics; pharmacokinetics; riboflavin.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.