Melatonin may prevent migraine
7 June 2016
Taking melatonin may be an effective way of preventing migraines, say Brazilian researchers.
Their trial comparing melatonin 3â€…mg, amitriptyline 25â€…mg (an antidepressant medicine used in migraine prevention) and placebo (dummy treatment) found melatonin to be better than placebo for migraine prevention and more tolerable than amitriptyline.
“Both melatonin and amitriptyline were superior to placebo on . . . number of headache days per month, and reduced the number of analgesics [painkillers] taken, attack duration, and migraine intensity,” the researchers write in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
More than half of those taking melatonin reported fewer headaches, compared with 39% of those on amitriptyline and 24% in the placebo arm.
The study also found more adverse events with amitriptyline, including daytime sleepiness and weight gain.
People taking melatonin tended to lose weight, while placebo led to a slight weight gain and a larger one with amitriptyline, report Dr Andre Leite Gonçalves and colleagues from Albert Einstein Hospital, São Paulo.
The authors conclude melatonin is an effective and well-tolerated preventive approach for migraine.
“Owing to its favourable side effect profile and efficacy, melatonin could be an option for patients sensitive to other drugs or with a preference for natural products. With the same efficacy level compared with other treatments and a low cost, melatonin should be a cost-effective treatment.”