Candesartan for Migraine

Recently a HeadWay subscriber mentioned a treatment that has been working well for her, and I realized that I haven’t mentioned it before. So here is a brief description of candesartan and its use in migraine treatment.

Candesartan is sold under the brand names Atacand, Amias, Blopress, and Ratacand, although it’s also available as a generic drug. It’s classified as an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). ARBs are often used to treat hypertension, and candesartan is no exception. But antihypertensive drugs are also used as migraine preventatives.

In 2013, a study compared candesartan with a more common migraine preventative, propranolol. The study concluded that 16mg daily of candesartan was comparable to 160mg of propranolol – both led to fewer days with migraine symptoms. (see A comparative study of candesartan versus propranolol for migraine prophylaxis)

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that just because we’ve tried a certain kind of drug, we shouldn’t bother trying similar drugs. But the truth is that every drug – even sometimes different versions of the same drug, can have a different effect on an individual. That’s why candesartan can help a patient when propranolol might not, or vice versa.

As always, talk to your doctor before trying any medication. You may not need 16mg – a lower dose may be helpful. Candesartan is NOT for use by anyone who may be pregnant.

Another bit of good news is that candesartan may be a better option for patients concerned about weight gain.

If you’re interested in trying a new preventative medication, talk to your doctor about candesartan. It’s now an often recommended option.

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  • Catherine Mar 21, 2017

    After a very stressful fall at the office in 2004 (at age 53) my BP was a bit high and the doctor put me on 8 mg per day of Atacand. I reported two months later to him that my usual weekend migraines were far fewer. The drug salesman had not suggested that benefit to my doctor so I researched and found the first and then the only study report – from Norway I believe. My BP has been fine since and I have insisted on staying on Atacand despite retiring from my stressful career as a lawyer. I stlll have lower “background” pressure in my head at all times and far fewer migraines than I had since I was a child. Bad weather no longer flattens me with a migraine.

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