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Bodyweight Changes During Prophylactic Treatment
of Headache
A Granato, F Maggioni, et al.
Posted: March 2005  
Cephalalgia Vol. 20, Number 4

Bodyweight gain appears to be a relevant side-effect of the prophylactic treatment of headache, but to our knowledge there are no data on the occurrence of this undesired side-effect. Our work studies this phenomenon, with the aim of quantifying it with relation to the different kinds and doses of drugs. At the moment, our investigation has been carried out on 80 patients suffering from migraine with or without aura, tension-type headache, or chronic daily headache. These subjects had never been treated or they had completed the last cycle of prophylaxis within the previous six months. They did not suffer from dysmetabolic, dysendocrine or psychiatric disease, or other pathology inducing bodyweight change. Furthermore, they were not on a diet and did not use other drugs. Controls were made up of 80 patients suffering from less than three attacks per month and therefore not given prophylaxis. Patients were evaluated over a period of six months: in the first three, patients underwent a prophylactic treatment; in the latter three, they received only attack therapies. Bodyweight was checked weekly. The drugs studied were: flunarizine, verapamil, valproate, amitriptyline, propranolol and pizotifen, each of them used in monotherapy. Our results show that the largest percentage of bodyweight gain was caused by amitriptyline, followed by pizotifen, flunarizine, valproate and propranolol. The highest bodyweight increase was due to flunarizine followed by amitriptyline, pizotifen, valproate and propranolol. The percentage of patients returning to the starting bodyweight at the end of the study was 66% with valproate and propranolol, 50% with amitriptyline and 30% with pizotifen and flunarizine.