Medical Research

Acupuncture Vs Topamax for Chronic Migraine Prophylaxis

Kristen Sparrow • December 16, 2011

Cephalalgia. 2011 Nov;31(15):1510-21. Epub 2011 Oct 21.
Acupuncture versus topiramate in chronic migraine prophylaxis: A randomized clinical trial.
Yang CP, Chang MH, Liu PE, Li TC, Hsieh CL, Hwang KL, Chang HH.

Kuang Tien General Hospital, Taiwan.

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of acupuncture compared with topiramate treatment in chronic migraine (CM) prophylaxis. Methods: A total of 66 consecutive and prospective CM patients were randomly divided into two treatment arms: 1) acupuncture group: acupuncture administered in 24 sessions over 12 weeks (n?=?33); and 2) topiramate group: a 4-week titration, initiated at 25?mg/day and increased by 25?mg/day weekly to a maximum of 100 mg/day followed by an 8-week maintenance period (n=?33). Results: A significantly larger decrease in the mean monthly number of moderate/severe headache days (primary end point) from 20.2±1.5 days to 9.8±?2.8 days was observed in the acupuncture group compared with 19.8?±?1.7 days to 4.1 days in the topiramate group Significant differences favoring acupuncture were also observed for all secondary efficacy variables. These significant differences still existed when we focused on those patients who were overusing acute medication. Adverse events occurred in 6% of acupuncture group and 66% of topiramate group. Conclusion: We suggest that acupuncture could be considered a treatment option for CM patients willing to undergo this prophylactic treatment, even for those patients with medication overuse.

Again, lots of treatments in this study. But, wow, that’s a lot of side effects from Topamax!! I mean, 66%??
Do you treat patients this many times in your practice? I usually don’t feel comfortable requiring this intensity of treatment.
Info on my practice here. More on acupuncture and migraine here.