Aspirin found to have little effect on migraines.

Date:

23-Apr-2001

Source

Cephalalgia

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Feverfew Magnesium Migraine
Professional Data: Feverfew Magnesium Migraine

Article

25-30 million Americans get migraines, and 3 out of 4 of them are women.1 A migraine headache can be debilitating for hours and sometimes for days. The migraine headache is considered a vascular headache, although the precise mechanism and cause remain unknown. There are several known triggers, some of which include food allergies, blood sugar disturbances, stress load, mechanical injury, and hormonal fluctuations. Treating a migraine means working with these triggers. Migraine may be classified as migraine without aura, formerly called common migraine, or migraine with aura, formerly known as classic migraine. The differences are based upon the presence or absence of neurologic symptoms prior to the onset of headache. The aura may consist of flashing lights, or zigzag lines, or may manifest as blind spots in the vision. Some people even experience speech difficulty, tingling in the face or hands, confusion, or weakness of an arm or leg.

Magnesium's role in the pathogenesis of migraine headaches has been clearly established in numerous clinical and experimental studies. However, the precise role of how and why low levels of magnesium increase the risk of migraines remains to be discovered. Simple analgesics, such as aspirin and acetaminophen, could be used in individuals with infrequent and mild forms of migraine. Also, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) have been used with some success in treatment.

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts examined the role of aspirin in prevention or treatment of migraines. As part of the ongoing Women’s Health study, 1001 women with migraine attacks were assigned 100 mg of aspirin every other day or an aspirin placebo. The women were aged 45 years and older. Using questionnaires, migraine frequency, severity, duration, and degree of disability were assessed at 12 and 36 months after randomization. The women involved also kept diaries that recorded their migraine information. A small decrease in frequency was reported in the individuals receiving the aspirin. Only a 3.2% difference of reduction was reported between the placebo and control groups. Also, the placebo group reported a decrease in severity, duration, as well as migraine induced disability. Significant improvement statistically was not associated with the intake of aspirin.2

References

1. American Council for Headache Education, 1999.
2. Bensenor IM, et al. Low-dose aspirin for migraine prophylaxis in women. Cephalalgia. Apr 2001;21(3):175-83.