Double-Blind Confirmation that Megadose Riboflavin Reduces Migraine Attacks

Double-Blind Confirmation that Megadose Riboflavin Reduces Migraine Attacks

Based on riboflavin's role (through FMN and FAD) in activating electron transport, researchers from Belgium and Luxembourg gave migraine sufferers massive (400 mg per day) doses of riboflavin (B2), leading to a 68% improvement in an uncontrolled trial in 1994.(1)

Now, the same group has reported on the results of a three-month double-blinded randomized trial (n = 55) using the same large dose of B2.(2) At the end of the recent trial the incidence of migraines in the intervention group had fallen by half, whereas the level of migraines in the placebo group exceeded baseline. Improvement was statistically significant in terms of eight of nine indices followed, though effects on severity and length of migraines as well as amount of antimigraine drugs used were only marginally significant in a clinical sense. The authors point out that the pattern they report -- a greater decrease in incidence rather than severity -- is exactly what is seen in most effective trials with antimigraine drugs.

Besides the large drop in migraine incidence, there is additional reason to be sanguine about the prospects of megadosing B2 -- the falling incidence had not begun to level off at the end of the three-month intervention. Thus it remains possible that with further supplementation, more progress would have emerged. It now appears time for doctors of natural medicine to consider adding high-dose riboflavin to their protocols for migraine treatment.

(1) Schoenen J, Lenaerts M, Bastings E. High-dose riboflavin as a prophylactic treatment of migraine: results of an open pilot study. Cephalagia 1994; 14:328-9.

(2) Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. Neurol 1998; 50:466-70.

Natural Product Research Consultants, Inc.

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By Steve Austin

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