Headache and Pain Unit

Rome, Italy

Headache and Pain Unit

Rome, Italy

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Neri M.,Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology | Frustaci A.,Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology | Milic M.,Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology | Milic M.,Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health | And 4 more authors.
Cephalalgia | Year: 2015

Background Oxidative and nitrosative stress are considered key events in the still unclear pathophysiology of migraine. Methods Studies comparing the level of biomarkers related to nitric oxide (NO) pathway/oxidative stress in the blood/urine of migraineurs vs. unaffected controls were extracted from the PubMed database. Summary estimates of mean ratios (MR) were carried out whenever a minimum of three papers were available. Nineteen studies were included in the meta-analyses, accounting for more than 1000 patients and controls, and compared with existing literature. Results Most studies measuring superoxide dismutase (SOD) showed lower activity in cases, although the meta-analysis in erythrocytes gave null results. On the contrary, plasma levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), an aspecific biomarker of oxidative damage, showed a meta-MR of 2.20 (95% CI: 1.65-2.93). As for NOs, no significant results were found in plasma, serum and urine. However, higher levels were shown during attacks, in patients with aura, and an effect of diet was found. The analysis of glutathione precursor homocysteine and asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an NO synthase inhibitor, gave inconclusive results. Conclusions The role of the oxidative pathway in migraine is still uncertain. Interesting evidence emerged for TBARS and SOD, and concerning the possible role of diet in the control of NOx levels. © International Headache Society 2015.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Grazzi L.,Carlo Besta Neurological Institute and Foundation | Egeo G.,Headache and Pain Unit | Padovan A.M.,Kiara Association | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Headache and Pain | Year: 2015

Background: The treatment of migraine headache is challenging given the lack of a standardized approach to care, unsatisfactory response rates, and medication overuse. Neuromodulation therapy has gained interest as an alternative to pharmacologic therapy for primary headache disorders. This study investigated the effects of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (nVNS) in patients with high-frequency episodic migraine (HFEM) and chronic migraine (CM). Findings: In this open-label, single-arm, multicenter study, patients with HFEM or CM self-treated up to 3 consecutive mild or moderate migraine attacks that occurred during a 2-week period by delivering two 120-s doses of nVNS at 3-min intervals to the right cervical branch of the vagus nerve. Of the 50 migraineurs enrolled (CM/HFEM: 36/14), 48 treated 131 attacks. The proportion of patients reporting pain relief, defined as a ≥50 % reduction in visual analog scale (VAS) score, was 56.3 % at 1 h and 64.6 % at 2 h. Of these patients, 35.4 % and 39.6 % achieved pain-free status (VAS = 0) at 1 and 2 h, respectively. When all attacks (N = 131) were considered, the pain-relief rate was 38.2 % at 1 h and 51.1 % at 2 h, whereas the pain-free rate was 17.6 % at 1 h and 22.9 % at 2 h. Treatment with nVNS was safe and well tolerated. Conclusion: Non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation may be effective as acute treatment for HFEM or CM and may help to reduce medication overuse and medication-associated adverse events. © 2015, Barbanti et al.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Aurilia C.,Headache and Pain Unit | Egeo G.,Headache and Pain Unit | Fofi L.,Headache and Pain Unit | Vanacore N.,National Institute of Health
Sleep Medicine | Year: 2013

Background: Excessive daytime sleepiness is a major clinical and health concern that can have varied and sometimes harmful consequences. Findings from uncontrolled studies suggest a high prevalence in patients with chronic migraine. Methods: In a case-control study, we compared frequency data for excessive daytime sleepiness in 100 patients with chronic migraine and 100 healthy controls paired for sex and age, and assessed risk factors including lifestyle, sleep quality, anxiety, depression, concomitant disease and medications. Results: The frequency of excessive daytime sleepiness was higher in migraineurs (especially in those with medication overuse) than in controls (20% versus 6%; odds ratio 3.92, 95% CI 1.5-10.22), but was lower than previously reported and correlated with poor quality sleep and anxiolytic and antidepressant use. Conclusions: Again confirming that disability in chronic migraine is multifactorial in origin, excessive daytime sleepiness, especially in migraineurs who overuse medications, adds to the multiple factors known to impair social and working function. Patients with chronic migraine might benefit from diagnostic interviews focussing also on sleep problems and from targeted psychoactive drug prescribing. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Aurilia C.,Headache and Pain Unit | Egeo G.,Headache and Pain Unit | Fofi L.,Headache and Pain Unit
Neurological Sciences | Year: 2010

Progression of episodic migraine to chronic migraine may be related to comorbid medical conditions. In this study, we focused on the role played by arterial hypertension in migraine transformation. Several studies reveal that hypertension is associated with chronic migraine and may induce migraine chronification. Hypertension probably amplifies the effects of migraine on the vascular wall further enhancing the endothelial dysfunction in cerebral vasculature. Consequently, monitoring of blood pressure is recommended in migraineurs showing an otherwise unexplained increase in attack frequency. Studies are needed to verify if prophylactic treatment with drugs improving endothelial function (e.g. calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, calcium inhibitors, ACE inhibitors and sartans) may selectively ameliorate the course of migraine in these patients.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Egeo G.,Headache and Pain Unit
Headache | Year: 2015

Most pharmacological trials deal with migraine as if it were a clinically homogeneous disease, and when detailing its characteristics, they usually report only the presence, or absence, of aura and attack frequency but provide no information on pain location, a non-trivial clinical detail. The past decade has witnessed growing emerging evidence suggesting that individuals with unilateral pain, especially those with associated unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms, are more responsive than others to trigeminal-targeted symptomatic and preventive therapy with drugs such as triptans or botulinum toxin. A simple way for migraine research treatment to take a step forward might be to step back, reappraise, and critically evaluate easily obtainable patient-reported clinical findings along with current knowledge on pain features. © 2014 American Headache Society.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Aurilia C.,Headache and Pain Unit | Egeo G.,Headache and Pain Unit | Fofi L.,Headache and Pain Unit
Neurological Sciences | Year: 2012

Migraine prevention hinges on a variety of non-specific drugs that mainly reduce neuronal hyperexcitability, the putative pathophysiological hallmark for migraine. The improved knowledge about migraine circuitry and neurobiology has prompted research to develop new specific migraine preventive medications targeted to innovative sites and mechanisms. Drugs designed to inhibit cortical spreading depression, for example tonabersat, might offer a useful option for the management of migraine with aura but not for migraine without aura. Inducible nitric-oxide synthase (iNOS) inhibition seems ineffective as a prophylactic strategy. Results are awaited from recent and ongoing phase II trials with glutamate receptor antagonists, third-generation antiepileptics, melatonin agonists, vitamin D3 and statins. © Springer-Verlag 2012.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Fofi L.,Headache and Pain Unit | Aurilia C.,Headache and Pain Unit | Egeo G.,Headache and Pain Unit
Neurological Sciences | Year: 2013

Migraine pain is often preceded, accompanied and followed by dopaminergic symptoms (premonitory yawning and somnolence, accompanying nausea and vomiting, postdromal somnolence, euphoria and polyuria). After reviewing evidence from pharmacological, biochemical, genetic and animal experimental studies on the relationship between dopamine and migraine, and matching these data with patients' clinical features, we postulate that migraine attacks could be characterized by an ictal dopamine release in a subject with dopamine receptor hypersensitivity due to a chronic dopaminergic deficit synergistic to serotoninergic impairment. Our review suggests that when the attack begins, a low dopamine plasma concentration stimulates hypersensitive central presynaptic dopamine receptors thus causing prodromal symptoms such as yawning and somnolence. Increasing dopamine levels, though still insufficient to stop trigeminovascular activation, stimulate postsynaptic dopamine receptors thus inducing nausea, vomiting and hypotension. Finally, dopamine levels slowly return to baseline, giving rise to somnolence and fatigue, but, in some cases, continue to rise triggering postdromal symptoms such as euphoria and polyuria. © Springer-Verlag Italia 2013.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Egeo G.,Headache and Pain Unit | Aurilia C.,Headache and Pain Unit | Fofi L.,Headache and Pain Unit | And 2 more authors.
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs | Year: 2014

Introduction: Ample evidence that nitric oxide (NO) is a causative molecule in migraine has encouraged research to develop drugs that target the NO-cGMP cascade for migraine treatment. NO synthase (NOS) inhibition is an innovative therapeutic principle.Areas covered: This paper reviews the rationale underlying NOS inhibition in migraine treatment. It also provides a review on the efficacy and safety data for NOS inhibitors (nonselective NOS inhibitor L-N G-methyl-arginine hydrochloride [L-NMMA], selective inducible NOS [iNOS] inhibitors GW273629 and GW274150, combined neuronal NOS [nNOS] inhibitor and 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonist NXN-188) in acute or preventive migraine treatment.Expert opinion: The data highlighted herein, from four placebo-controlled trials and 1 open-labeled clinical trial using 4 different NOS inhibitors on a total of 705 patients, provide convincing efficacy data only for the nonselective NOS inhibitor L-NMMA. Unfortunately, this NOS inhibitor raises cardiovascular safety concerns and has an unfavorable pharmacokinetic profile. As experimental studies predicted, iNOS inhibitors are ineffective in migraine. Still, upcoming selective nNOS inhibitors are a hope for migraine treatment, with the nNOS isoform being most clearly involved in trigeminovascular transmission and central sensitization. Future studies should help to clarify whether NOS inhibition is equally fruitful in acute and preventive treatment. It should also clarify if nNOS inhibition holds promise as a therapeutic tool for the treatment of chronic migraine and other forms of headache. © 2014 Informa UK, Ltd.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Egeo G.,Headache and Pain Unit | Aurilia C.,Headache and Pain Unit | Fofi L.,Headache and Pain Unit
Neurological Sciences | Year: 2014

Tension-type headache (TTH) is the second most common human disease, accounting for intense disability, high costs and numerous workdays lost. Tension-type headache is less simple and easy-to-treat than commonly thought. Antidepressants, despite their poor tolerability, are still the first-choice drugs for preventing TTH. The most widely studied non-pharmacological approach to TTH, cognitive-behavioral techniques, effectively relieve pain only in selected patients. The most frequently used and recommended treatments for acute TTH, NSAIDs and paracetamol have scarce efficacy as documented by their low therapeutic gain over placebo in the 2-h pain-free response. Their effectiveness may be increased by a more proper use and by the adjunction of caffeine, antiemetics, myorelaxants or tranquillizers but the risk of medication-overuse headache must be considered. Hence, the need for more effective and tailored treatments in TTH remains. © 2014 Springer-Verlag.


Barbanti P.,Headache and Pain Unit | Fabbrini G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Aurilia C.,Headache and Pain Unit | Defazio G.,University of Bari | And 2 more authors.
Cephalalgia | Year: 2010

Essential tremor (ET) and migraine headache are considered comorbid diseases on the basis of uncontrolled studies. We investigated the frequency of migraine in patients with ET by enrolling 110 patients with ET and 110 age-and sexmatched healthy controls in a case-control study. We found no significant differences in the frequency of lifetime and current migraine between patients and controls, even in patients stratified for age. Tremor had similar clinical features in patients with ET with and without migraine except that females predominated in patients with ET and migraine. Migraine also had similar characteristics in both patients with ET and migraine and in controls with migraine. Our study excludes a comorbid association between ET and migraine. When ET and migraine coexist their clinical phenotype and evolution remain almost unchanged. © International Headache Society 2010.

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