In our Preventive migraine medications use in Aotearoa New Zealand report, we reported on how many people from the Migraine in Aotearoa New Zealand Survey 2022 were taking medication for prevention (around half) and how many people with severely disabling and/or frequent migraine attacks were taking preventive medication.
Now we’ve analysed what types of medication people are or have previously taken for migraine prevention. There are many different medications that can be used, but all of these, excluding the new, migraine-specific medications targeting calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), were initially developed and used to treat other conditions, such as hypertension, depression or epilepsy. It was only by chance, not design, that these medications were noted to have some efficacy in preventing migraine attacks.
In the survey, we specifically asked about medications included as options for migraine treatment in international guidelines (New Zealand doesn’t have its own migraine treatment guideline at present). We asked whether people were currently taking any of these medications or whether they’d used them in the past for migraine but had stopped because of side effects, because they didn’t work or for some other reason.
Use of the CGRP monoclonal antibodies (Emgality and Aimovig were available at the time of the survey) are discussed in a separate report, as are other injections, hormone treatments (including melatonin, estrogen and testosterone), supplements and non-medication approaches to migraine prevention.
For all classes of preventive medication, people with chronic migraine (headache on 15 days or more per month) were more likely to be currently taking and to have previously taken that type of medication than those with episodic migraine (migraine on 14 days or less a month).