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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5 comments… add one
  • 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.

  • Tommy Aug 30, 2017

    I got MOH (Medication Overuse Headache) after taking Zomig once a day for my migraine headache. This has been going on for several years.
    After trying out a lot of different preventative medication, I finally heard about Atacand, and I have now been taking 16 mg par day for several months.
    I still need to take 1 Zomig almost every day, but my “headache pain level” is reduced by approx 30-50% – and that’s a good reason for me to keep on using Atacand.
    I experience no side effects, apart from the fact that my blood pressure is reduced, but only to an acceptable level
    Kind regards,

  • Peter Jeffries Jan 2, 2018

    This might help some folk. I take a huge amount of meds every day. My staple for bad migraine that last a few days to several weeks is Sumatriptan tabs or self injection for the most severe attacks. But a few years ago I was prescribed Amlodipine for blood pressure. This has had a notable effect on the number of attacks I have. Its not that I am aware of used to treat migraine but it seems to have a noticeable effect .

    • James Jan 9, 2018

      Hi Peter,

      Yes, amlodipine is used for migraine prevention. So glad to hear you’re having fewer attacks!

      • Peter Jeffries Jan 10, 2018

        Thanks James. Saying that I have just come through a period of continual migraine symptoms from Boxing Day lasting 13 days. You can’t win with this monster.

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