Other Preventive Anti-Migraine Treatments: ACE Inhibitors, ARBs, Calcium Channel Blockers, Serotonin Antagonists, and NMDA Receptor Antagonists

Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2019 Mar 18;21(4):17. doi: 10.1007/s11940-019-0559-0.


Purpose of review: Migraine causes more years of life lived with disability than almost any other condition in the world and can significantly impact the lives of individuals with migraine, their families, and society. The use of medication for the prevention of migraine is an integral component to reducing disability caused by migraine. There are many different drug classes that have been investigated and shown efficacy in migraine prophylaxis. This article examines several of the classes of medications that are used for migraine preventive treatment, specifically, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, serotonin antagonists, alpha-adrenergic agonists, and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor antagonists.

Recent findings: There have been randomized control trials investigating medications in these drug classes since the most recent guidelines for migraine prevention in adults were published by the American Academy of Neurology, American Headache Society, and the Canadian Headache Society. In these investigations, enalapril, candesartan, and memantine all demonstrated efficacy for migraine prevention. The evidence for these and the aforementioned drug classes are reviewed. When oral medications are being selected for migraine prevention, comorbid and coexistent medical conditions, concomitant medications, patient preference, and pregnancy and breast-feeding plans should be considered. Within the drug classes discussed, memantine and candesartan have a moderate level of evidence for efficacy.

Keywords: Adult; Medications; Migraine; Prevention.

Publication types

  • Review