Objective: The objective of this study was to test whether behavioral weight loss (BWL) intervention decreases headaches in women with comorbid migraine and overweight or obesity.
Methods: This randomized, single-blind trial allocated women 18 to 50 years old with 4 to 20 migraine days per month and a BMI = 25.0-49.9 kg/m2 to 16 weeks of BWL (n = 54), which targeted exercise and eating behaviors for weight loss, or to migraine education control (ME, n = 56), which delivered didactic instruction on migraine and treatments. Participants completed a 4-week smartphone headache diary at baseline, posttreatment (16-20 wk), and follow-up (32-36 wk). The primary outcome was posttreatment change in migraine days per month, analyzed via linear mixed effects models.
Results: Of 110 participants randomly assigned, 85 (78%) and 80 (73%) completed posttreatment and follow-up. Although the BWL group achieved greater weight loss (mean [95% CI] in kilograms) than the ME group at posttreatment (-3.8 [-2.5 to -5.0] vs. + 0.9 [-0.4 to 2.2], P < 0.001) and follow-up (-3.2 [-2.0 to -4.5] vs. + 1.1 [-0.2 to 2.4], P < 0.001), there were no significant group (BWL vs. ME) differences (mean [95% CI]) in migraine days per month at posttreatment (-3.0 [-2.0 to -4.0] vs. -4.0 [-2.9 to -5.0], P = 0.185) or follow-up (-3.8 [-2.7 to -4.8] vs. -4.4 [-3.4 to -5.5], P = 0.378).
Conclusions: Contrary to hypotheses, BWL and ME yielded similar, sustained reductions in migraine headaches. Future research should evaluate whether adding BWL to standard pharmacological and/or nonpharmacological migraine treatment approaches yields greater benefits.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01197196.
© 2017 The Obesity Society.