Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Blood Pressure Drug Appears to Prevent Migraines

By
WebMD Health News

Jan. 5, 2000 -- Researcher Harald Schrader, MD, says serendipity played a large role in his decision to study a popular blood pressure drug as a preventive therapy for migraines. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology professor says he had suffered from crippling headaches for several years when he also was found to have high blood pressure.

"I was placed on [the blood pressure medication] lisinopril, and my headaches got better almost immediately," Schrader tells WebMD. "Soon after that, we gave the drug to a woman we were treating for disabling migraines who also had borderline high blood pressure. A few weeks later, we got a hand-written, four-page letter from her telling us that the treatment had given her a new life."

Schrader and colleagues now have more scientific evidence that lisinopril, which goes under various trade names such as Prinivil or Zestril and is among the class of high blood pressure medicines known as ACE inhibitors, really does prevent migraines. In the Jan. 6 issue of the British Medical Journal, they report that the therapy appears to work as well as other preventive agents with fewer side effects.

For a frequent migraine sufferer, reducing the number of agonizing headaches that occur each month could mean the difference between living a relatively normal life and living in constant pain or fear of pain. Several drugs or drug classes, including beta-blockers, which are used for heart problems and high blood pressure, and certain antiseizure drugs, have been shown to reduce migraine frequency in many patients, but side effects such as weight gain and sluggishness make them less than ideal for long-term use.

"At present, the preventive treatments for migraines are still rather unsatisfactory," former International Headache Society president Ninan T. Mathew, MD, tells WebMD. "We are still on the lookout for something that can be taken long term with reasonable results. From this point of view, this ACE inhibitor seems to be a reasonable choice." Mathew, who is director of the Houston Headache Clinic in Houston, Texas, reviewed the study for WebMD.

Today on WebMD

Business woman with hand on face and eyes closed
What aura looks like, triggers, and more.
woman with migraine
Get the truth about migraines.
 
headache in the bedroom
Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
woman with hands on head
Test your knowledge of triggers, types, and more.
 
woman with migraine
Quiz
drinking coffee
Article
 
Migraines Headaches Basics
Article
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
 
Tired young man
Slideshow
spraying perfume
Article
 
man with a headache
Article
headache in the bedroom
Article