BP Medicine May Prevent Headaches

Published Online: Thursday, December 1, 2005

The findings from a large analysis of clinical trial data suggest that the use of blood pressure (BP)-lowering medications can prevent a significant number of headaches. Agents from different classes of BP medicines can have this effect. Yet, according to Malcolm Law, FRCP, of London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, these findings have not supported a link between high BP and headaches.

The study, reported in Circulation (October 11, 2005), involved data from 94 trials that looked at the 4 main BP-lowering drug classes—thiazides, beta-blockers, angiotensin II receptor antagonists, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. A total of 17,641 patients received one of these agents, and 6603 received a placebo. Overall, 12.4% of those taking the placebo reported an incidence of headaches, compared with 8% of those taking an agent.

The study authors estimated that ~1 in 30 patients taking a BP-lowering agent benefited by having a headache prevented. All 4 drug classes appeared to provide a substantial reduction in headache prevalence. It is still a mystery whether high BP actually causes headaches, however, Dr. Law said.

Latest Articles
Having trouble getting your hands on FluMist?
Novartis is paying $390 million to settle charges that it paid kickbacks to pharmacies to encourage drug sales.
Anxiety sensitivity has been linked to more debilitating asthma symptoms and greater functional limitations.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays do not seem to be viable treatments for the common cold.
Latest Issues