BP Medicine May Prevent Headaches
The findings from a large analysis of clinical trial data suggestthat the use of blood pressure (BP)-lowering medications can preventa significant number of headaches. Agents from differentclasses of BP medicines can have this effect. Yet, according toMalcolm Law, FRCP, of London Queen Mary's School of Medicineand Dentistry, these findings have not supported a link betweenhigh BP and headaches.
The study, reported in Circulation (October 11, 2005), involveddata from 94 trials that looked at the 4 main BP-loweringdrug classes—thiazides, beta-blockers, angiotensin II receptorantagonists, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Atotal of 17,641 patients received one of these agents, and 6603received a placebo. Overall, 12.4% of those taking the placeboreported an incidence of headaches, compared with 8% ofthose taking an agent.
The study authors estimated that ~1 in 30 patients taking aBP-lowering agent benefited by having a headache prevented.All 4 drug classes appeared to provide a substantial reduction inheadache prevalence. It is still a mystery whether high BP actuallycauses headaches, however, Dr. Law said.