A probiotic mixture supplement may be effective for reducing the frequency and severity of migraine attacks and the use of abortive drugs in patients with chronic and episodic migraine, according to a study published in Cephalalgia.

Patients with episodic (n=40) and chronic (n=39) migraine were enrolled in this trial and were randomly assigned to receive 2 capsules per day of a multispecies probiotic supplement containing 14 probiotic bacteria (episodic migraine, n=22; chronic migraine, n=21) or placebo (n=18 for both episodic and chronic migraine). The intervention lasted 10 and 8 weeks in patients with episodic and chronic migraine, respectively. Migraine severity (assessed with a visual analog scale), number of abortive drugs consumed, number of migraine days, and the frequency and duration of attacks (using paper-based headache diaries) were evaluated. Levels of serum tumor necrosis factor alpha and C-reactive protein levels were measured at baseline and end of intervention.

The mean frequency (mean change, −2.64 vs 0.06; P <.001) and severity (mean decrease, −2.14 vs 0.11; P <.001) of migraine attacks decreased to a greater degree in patients with episodic migraine who received probiotics vs placebo after 10 weeks of intervention. Patients with episodic migraine receiving probiotics vs placebo also had reductions in weekly abortive drug usage at 10 weeks compared with baseline (mean change, −0.72; P <.001).

Patients with chronic migraine treated with probiotics vs placebo had greater reductions in mean frequency (mean change, −9.67 vs −0.22; P ≤.001), severity (mean change, −2.69; P ≤.001), and duration (mean change, −0.59; P ≤.034) of migraine attacks, as well as greater reductions in the number of abortive drugs taken per day (mean change, −1.02; P <.001).

Study limitations include the small patient cohort as well as the reliance on headache diaries.

“More precise researches are needed to establish the place of probiotics in migraine treatment and find the underlying mechanism of the probiotic effect,” noted the researchers.

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Reference

Martami F, Togha M, Seifishahpar M, et al. The effects of a multispecies probiotic supplement on inflammatory markers and episodic and chronic migraine characteristics: A randomized double-blind controlled trial [published online January 8, 2019]. Cephalalgia. doi: 10.1177/0333102418820102