Thursday, November 26, 2015

Oh my aching head

No question about it, migraine headaches impact many people on a regular basis, preventing daily functioning and productivity.  To treat them, folks use a wide variety of preparations, both prescription and over the counter.  This feature on WBAL-TV was promoted by a new review article that looked at two agents, riboflavin and Coenzyme Q-10, in the prevention of migraines.  Enjoy the piece, then keep reading.

Although you might think from this news article that the use of these over the counter agents is a new finding, there are articles going back at least ten years that speak of the apparent efficacy of them in the prevention of common migraine headaches.  Riboflavin, which is also known as Vitamin B2, is a water soluble vitamin that is present in small amounts in just about every multivitamin.  There is, however, just the amount of the Recommended Dietary Allowance in these pills, about 1.7 mg.  For migraine prevention, the usually cited dose is 400 mg daily, taken as a single or divided dose.  There are capsules of 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg available from a variety of sources.  Most references cite a two or three month lag time from starting the product until full effect is appreciated, and the mechanism of action, although there are lots of theories, is really unknown.  Because this is a water soluble vitamin, the excess that is unneeded by the body is excreted in the urine, which develops a lovely glowing yellow color as a result.  

Co-enzyme Q-10, also known as CoQ-10, is a naturally occurring substance in the body, which has anti-oxidant properties.  The most common use as a supplement is in people who are taking statins, where it appears to help minimize muscle cramps.  It has also been looked at for the prevention of migraines and, again, there does appear to be a positive effect in some studies.  Dosage appears to range from 150 mg to 300 mg daily, and, again, the studies do show a significant reduction without appreciable side effects.  

Whether these products can be used together is not clear, I was not able to find any references which used a combination.  As always, you should check with your physician before embarking on any therapeutic plan, whether by prescription drugs, over the counter products, or even techniques that don't involve ingesting something!  Be frank and open with your doctor, and you both will benefit.

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