Which medications in the drug class Beta Blockers, Beta-1 Selective are used in the treatment of Migraine Headache?

Updated: Oct 01, 2021
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Beta Blockers, Beta-1 Selective

Among antihypertensive medications, the evidence for migraine prevention is strongest with beta blockers. Beta blockers may prevent migraines by blocking vasodilators, decreasing platelet adhesiveness and aggregation, stabilizing the membrane, and increasing the release of oxygen to tissues. Significant to their activity as migraine prophylactic agents is the lack of partial agonistic activity. Latency from initial treatment to therapeutic results may be as long as 2 months.

Beta blockers should not be used as first-line agents for migraine prophylaxis in smokers over age 60 years. Compared with other antihypertensive medications, beta blockers pose a higher risk of cardiovascular events.

Propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA, Hemangeol, InnoPran XL)

Propranolol is FDA approved for migraine prevention. The dose may be increased gradually to achieve optimum migraine prophylaxis. The long-acting form can be taken once daily.

Timolol (Apo-Timol, Nu-Timolol, Teva-Timolol)

Timolol is FDA approved for migraine prophylaxis, although there is less scientific evidence of efficacy for timolol than for propranolol.

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