Another epilepsy drug may work for headaches

Many, but not all epilepsy drugs are also effective in preventing migraine headaches.   For example, divalproex sodium (Depakote), topiramate (Topamax), and to a lesser degree gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica), and levetiracetam (Keppra) relieve migraine headaches, while other epilepsy drugs, such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamazepine (Tegretol)  do not.  A report by Drs. Krusz at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society held last month suggests that a new epilepsy drug, lacosamide (Vimpat) may also be effective for the treatment of headaches.  Dr. Krusz treated 22 patients with chronic migraines  (patients who had more than 15 headache days each month) with this medication and discovered that on average the monthly number of headaches dropped from 21 to 13.  Side effects, such as drowsiness, nausea, and cognitive impairment lead 4 patients to stop the drug.  Despite very impressive results it is premature to declare lacosamide an effective headache treatment because the study was very small and not placebo-controlled.

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