"Natural" or Alternative Medications for Migraine Prevention

Randolph W. Evans, MD; Frederick R. Taylor, MD

Disclosures

Headache. 2006;46(6):1012-1018. 

In This Article

Clinical History

Many migraineurs are quite concerned about the toxicity of prescription medications and prefer alternative treatments regarded by them to be "natural" and thus relatively free of any side effects. If you are knowledgeable about these treatments, patients are likely to perceive you to be an enlightened physician who understands and is sympathetic to their concerns and preferences.

A medical school statistician/epidemiologist has frequent migraines. She is interested in the possibility of a preventative medication. From her research, she concludes that the usual preventative medications reduce headache frequency by about 50% in about 50% of patients, but she is concerned about the potential for side-effects and wonders about the efficacy of alternative treatments. She is also curious about the scientific validity of the studies.

Question: What is the efficacy of alternative treatments such as feverfew, petasites, magnesium, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, and melatonin? Are there any safety concerns?

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