What is it about?

Headaches are a common problem. There are two kinds of headaches, migraine headaches and tension headaches. One medicine used to prevent headaches is beta-blockers. There are several different types of beta-blockers and several studies that have looked to see how well they work for headaches. This paper pools these clinical trials to see how well beta-blockers work to prevent headaches. We found that almost all the studies were for migraine headaches and all beta-blockers work equally well to reduce the number and severity of migraine headaches.

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Why is it important?

Headaches are common and significantly reduce the quality of life for people who suffer from them.


What is interesting about this study is that beta-blockers have traditionally felt to be less effective than tricyclic antidepressants or anticonvulsants for migraine headaches. Our analysis suggests that this is not so, beta-blockers appear to be just as effective. This is important because beta-blockers are often used for other conditions, such as hypertension, and are generally tolerated better than tricyclics or anticonvulsants.

Jeffrey Jackson
Clement J Zablocki VAMC

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Beta-blockers for the prevention of headache in adults, a systematic review and meta-analysis, PLoS ONE, March 2019, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212785.
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