Nonpharmacologic treatment of migraine with low-dose propranolol or amitriptyline

Tal Eidlitz-Markus*, Yael Dlugatch, Yishai Haimi-Cohen, Hadassa Goldberg-Stern, Avraham Zeharia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study evaluated the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic measures combined with low-dose propranolol or amitriptyline for treating severe pediatric migraine. Data were collected from the medical files of 118 patients (mean age, 12.54 ± 3.14 years S.D.). All were treated with nonpharmacologic measures. In addition, 93 children received propranolol (mean initial dose, 0.4 ± 0.17 mg/kg/day S.D.), and 25 received amitriptyline (mean initial dose, 0.26 ± 0.1 mg/kg/day S.D.). Twenty patients were switched from propranolol to amitriptyline during treatment. In both groups, headache frequency was reduced by >50% per month in ∼80% of patients. Patients without aura responded significantly better to propranolol than patients with aura (P = 0.02). No significant difference was evident in response to pharmacologic treatment by migraine frequency or type (episodic chronic). No significant difference was evident in response to amitriptyline between patients with or without aura. The response rate was higher than previously reported for placebo. Low-dose propranolol and low-dose amitriptyline, when combined with nonpharmacologic measures, are equally effective in reducing the frequency of migraine in children. Propranolol is preferred because of its lower risk of side effects. An additive effect of nonpharmacologic measures may allow for a reduction in drug dose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-349
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


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