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Tonabersat May Be Helpful for the Prevention of Aura Associated With Migraine

Tonabersat May Be Helpful for the Prevention of Aura Associated With Migraine

Tonabersat is effective in the prophylaxis of aura in patients with migraine, according to a recent study led by Jes Olesen, MD, a professor of neurology at the Danish Headache Center at Glostrup Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Glostrup, Denmark.1 He presented the results of his research at the 14th annual International Headache Congress in Philadelphia. Tonabersat is a neuronal gap junction blocker, which has been shown to inhibit cortical spreading depression (CSD), said Oleson. “The results of this study support the theory that auras in migraineurs are the result of CSD.”
This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial that included 39 patients who had experienced 1 or more migraines with aura per month within the previous 3 months. Of these patients, 31 completed the study; patients received tonabersat 40 mg once daily or placebo. Patients also kept a detailed diary in which they wrote observations on each episode of headache, migraine without aura, and migraine with aura.2

Results of the study showed that the mean number of migraines with aura each patient experienced within a 12-week period was 1 in those treated with tonabersat and 3.2 in those who received placebo. However, median days with migraine headache were the same in patients treated with either tonabersat or placebo. Tonabersat was shown to be well tolerated, said Oleson.


1. Olesen J, Asghar MS, Schytz HW, et al. Tonabersat, inhibitor of cortical spreading depression, has significant preventive effect in migraine with aura. Presented at: 14th International Headache Congress; September 10-13, 2009; Philadelphia. Abstract.
2. Hauge AW, Asghar MS, Schytz HW, et al. Effects of tonabersat on migraine with aura: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Lancet Neurol. 2009;8:718-723.
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