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Dextroamphetamine Pilot Crossover Trials
in Patients with Chronic Tension-Type and
Migraine Headache
David C. Haas, Paul R. Sheehe
Posted: January 2005  
Headache 2004;44:1029-1037

Objective:   To examine the preventive effects of dextroamphetamine in select small groups of patients with chronic tension-type and migraine headache.

Background:   Neither amphetamine nor methylphenidate is used as a headache preventive. This study was undertaken after a chance observation led one of us to prescribe dextroamphetamine with apparent success in specific patients with chronic tension-type or migraine headaches.

Results:   Two pilot trials were done. Trial 1 tested patients who were taking dextroamphetamine, while Trial 2 tested patients who had never taken this drug. In both trials, the tension-type and migraine groups had lower mean daily headache grades in the amphetamine than in the caffeine periods. Values for these differences indicated that there were real drug effects, on the average, in the migraine groups and suggestive but inconclusive effects in the tension-type groups. The individual analyses showed that five tension-type and three migraine subjects in Trial 1 and three tension-type and three migraine subjects in Trial 2 had considerably lower mean daily headache grades on amphetamine with P values indicating, at various levels of significance, real amphetamine effects. Twelve of the remaining 18 patients had lower, albeit not significant, mean daily grades with amphetamine. No subject in either trial had a significantly lower mean daily headache grade on caffeine.

Conclusions:  Dextroamphetamine had real preventive effects on chronic tension-type and migraine headaches in some subjects. These results should encourage other investigators to study its effects on these headaches.