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Reduction in Migraine and Headache Frequency and Intensity With Combined Antioxidant Prophylaxis ( N ‐acetylcysteine, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C): A Randomized Sham‐Controlled Pilot Study

Visser, E.J., Drummond, P.D. and Lee‐Visser, J.L.A. (2020) Reduction in Migraine and Headache Frequency and Intensity With Combined Antioxidant Prophylaxis ( N ‐acetylcysteine, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C): A Randomized Sham‐Controlled Pilot Study. Pain Practice . Early View.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1111/papr.12902
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Abstract

Objective
To investigate the preventive effects of a combined antioxidant drug (N ‐acetylcysteine, vitamin E, and vitamin C [NEC]) on migraine outcomes. Migraine is characterized by increased oxidative stress and neurogenic inflammation in the brain; therefore, antioxidants may have a migraine preventive effect.

Design
Randomized, double‐blind, sham‐controlled pilot study.

Setting
Australian community.

Subjects
Adults reporting 2 to 8 migraines per month for at least a year.

Methods
After a 1‐month baseline period, 35 subjects completed 3 months of treatment with NEC (n = 19) or sham (n = 16) capsules. The primary outcome was the difference in mean number of headaches per month between baseline and final month of the trial for NEC and sham groups; secondary outcomes are listed below.

Results
For NEC there was a significant decrease in mean number of headaches by 3.0 per month (P = 0.004) compared with 1.4 for sham (P = 0.073); there was no significant difference in these changes between the 2 groups (P = 0.052). Average monthly headache (P = 0.041) and migraine frequency (P = 0.018) were significantly less for NEC vs. sham. In NEC subjects, there was a significant decrease in average monthly migraine days (−3.1), moderate/severe headache days (−3.2), migraine duration, headache pain scores, and acute headache medication use.

Conclusions
This is the first randomized controlled trial to find that combined antioxidant therapy with NEC reduces headaches and migraines in adult migraineurs. Given the limitations of this pilot study, an adequately powered randomized controlled trial is planned to further investigate antioxidant prophylaxis in migraine.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2020 World Institute of Pain
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/56031
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