A prospective pilot study of the effect on catecholamines of mindfulness training vs pharmacological prophylaxis in patients with chronic migraine and medication overuse headache
Aim: To address whether, in patients with chronic migraine and medication overuse headache, mindfulness-based treatment is associated with changes in plasma levels of catecholamines and elusive amines that are similar to those observed in patients undergoing pharmacological prophylaxis. Methods: In this non-randomized, clinic-based effectiveness study, patients aged 18–65, with a history of chronic migraine ≥ 10 years and overuse of triptans or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ≥ 5 years, were enrolled. Upon completion of a structured withdrawal program, patients received either pharmacological prophylaxis or six weekly sessions of mindfulness-based treatment and were followed for 12 months. Daily headache diaries were used to record headache frequency and medication intake; catecholamines (noradrenaline, epinephrine and dopamine) and levels of elusive amines were assayed from poor platelet plasma. Results: Complete follow-up data were available for 15 patients in the pharmacological prophylaxis-group (14 females, average age 44.1) and 14 in the mindfulness treatment-group (all females, average age 46.4), and all variables were comparable between groups at baseline. At 12 months, significant improvement (p <.001) was found in the pharmacological prophylaxis group for headache frequency and medication intake (by 51% and 48.7%, respectively), noradrenaline, epinephrine and dopamine (by 98.7%, 120.8% and 501.9%, respectively); patients in the mindfulness treatment-group performed similarly. For elusive amines, no longitudinal changes were found. Conclusions: The similar improvement trends observed in the two groups of patients further support the utility of mindfulness-based treatment in migraine care, and reinforce the hypothesis that alteration and normalization of tyrosine metabolism are implicated in migraine chronification and in remission of chronic migraine.
Grazzi, L., Raggi, A., D’Amico, D., Sansone, E., Leonardi, M., Andrasik, F., Gucciardi, A., & Guido, D. (2019). A prospective pilot study of the effect on catecholamines of mindfulness training vs pharmacological prophylaxis in patients with chronic migraine and medication overuse headache. Cephalalgia, 39 (5), 655-664. https://doi.org/10.1177/0333102418801584