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

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

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

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • 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

Epilepsy Drug May Reduce Daily Headaches

But Experts Say Neurontin Is Not a Top Choice
WebMD Health News

Dec. 22, 2003 -- New research suggests that the epilepsy drug Neurontin is effective for preventing chronic daily headaches, but headache experts contacted by WebMD remain unconvinced.

In the Australian study, patients with chronic daily headaches treated with Neurontin had 9% fewer headache days per month than patients given placebo treatments.

Although the study subjects had 2.7 less headache days per month when they took the epilepsy drug, this was only a modest improvement over the 2.3 fewer headache days per month experienced by patients unknowingly taking the dummy pills, suggesting a placebo effect.

'Not a First-Line Choice'

A person who has 15 or more days with headaches per month or more than four hours per day for a period of at least six months meets the definition for chronic daily headache, regardless of whether they have migraines, tension headaches, or headaches due to another cause.

"In my opinion, [Neurontin] is not a first-line choice for preventing chronic daily headaches," headache specialist Stephen Silberstein, MD, tells WebMD. "This is one of the few studies ever done on a treatment to prevent daily headaches, so it was important to publish it. But it had a lot of flaws."

Rebound Headaches

Silberstein outlined some of these flaws in an editorial published along with the study in the December issue of the journal Neurology. He noted that the researchers lumped all chronic daily headache sufferers together and did not diagnose which type of headache they were treating. Also, they failed to take into account the impact of frequent analgesic use. Patients in this study were not excluded if they were overusing analgesics.

The overuse of pain medications is now known to be a major cause of chronic daily headaches. Many medications used to treat headache pain, like certain analgesics, can cause even worse headaches to occur as they wear off. The cycle continues as sufferers take more and more medication, resulting in more and more frequent headaches. In fact adds, adds Silberstein, those who overused analgesics did worse.

This so-called rebound effect is present in as many as 80% of patients with chronic daily headaches, says Silberstein, who is director of the Jefferson Headache Clinic in Philadelphia.

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
drinking coffee
Migraines Headaches Basics
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Tired young man
spraying perfume
man with a headache
headache in the bedroom