High-Dose Aspirin May be Safe, Effective in Acute Migraine Treatment

By Dave Quaile, /alert Contributor
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High-dose aspirin showed high rates of efficacy and safety in treating patients with acute migraine headaches according to new data published in The American Journal of Medicine.

“In the treatment of acute migraine as well as prevention of recurrent attacks comprehensive guidelines include prescription drugs of proven benefit,” Charles H. Hennekens, MD, first Sir Richard Doll Professor and senior academic advisor in FAU's Schmidt College of Medicine wrote in a press release from Florida Atlantic University and colleagues wrote in the review. “For those without health insurance or high co-pays, however, they may be neither available nor affordable and, for all patients, they may be either poorly tolerated or contraindicated.

Migraine. Source: Getty Images

Hennekens and colleagues conducted a review of 13 randomized trials of the treatment of migraine including a total of 4,222 patients to explore the option of high-dose aspirin as a possible option for migraine treatment.

According to the results of the review, aspirin doses ranging from 900-1300 milligrams, given at the time of onset of symptoms is a safe and effective treatment option for patients with acute migraine. 

The researchers also found that in select randomized trials, daily aspirin in doses from 81-325 milligrams may be a safe and effective option for the prevention of recurrent migraine headaches. 

"Our review supports the use of high dose aspirin to treat acute migraine as well as low dose daily aspirin to prevent recurrent attacks," Hennekens wrote in a press release "Moreover, the relatively favorable side effect profile of aspirin and extremely low costs compared with other prescription drug therapies may provide additional clinical options for primary health care providers treating acute as well as recurrent migraine headaches."

According to an accompanying editorial from Joseph S. Alpert, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Department of Medicine, physicians should always explore high dose aspirin regimen as the initial therapeutic treatment for migraine control. 

“If aspirin works to abort or ameliorate the headaches, then it should be tried as a prophylactic measure to see if it can prevent the occurrence of these debilitating headaches,” Alpert wrote. “Hopefully, this would lead to less disability and loss of employment time for these patients who are so common in the US and throughout the world.”

Disclosure: Alpert reports no relevant financial disclosures. Hennekens reports financial ties to various pharmaceutical and device companies. For a complete list of author disclosures, please see the full study. 

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