Flunarizine effects on oxidative stress in migraine patients

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Abstract

Prophylactic activity of flunarizine in migraine is attributed to its antioxidant properties and to the relief of cerebral vasospasm in which nitric oxide (NO) is involved. We investigated the antimigraine activity of flunarizine and its influence on NO and oxidative marker bioavailability in 25 subjects suffering from migraine without aura and in 25 healthy controls. Urinary samples collected before and after treatment with flunarizine (5 mg orally per day for 6 months) were assayed for NO stable metabolites (NOx) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Urinary levels of NOx and TBARS were higher in migraine sufferers before treatment than in healthy controls. No differences were observed in NOx levels in migraine sufferers, before and after flunarizine treatment; urinary TBARS levels were decreased after flunarizine treatment (P < 0.05) and remained persistently higher than in healthy controls (P < 0.05). Our results suggest that flunarizine did not prevent NO-mediated vasodilatation, while it proved effective in limiting the oxidative reactions occurring in migraine sufferers.

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