Effect of Flunarizine on Serum Glutamate Levels and its Correlation with Headache Intensity in Chronic Tension-Type Headache Patients
BACKGROUND: Some of the excitatory neurotransmitters including glutamate have been suggested to be involved in headache pathophysiology. To our knowledge, there is a lack of publication about flunarizine efficacy in chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) treatments and the roles of glutamate in CTTH pathophysiology.
AIM: This study aimed to investigate the flunarizine effect on serum levels of glutamate and its correlation with headache intensity based on the Numeric Rating Scale for pain (NRS) scores in CTTH patients.
METHOD: In a prospective randomised, double-blind study with pre and post-test design, seventy-three CTTH patients were randomly allocated with flunarizine 5 mg, flunarizine 10 mg and amitriptyline 12.5 mg groups. The serum levels of glutamate and NRS scores were measured before and after 15-day treatment.
RESULTS: Flunarizine 5 mg was more effective than flunarizine 10 mg and amitriptyline 12.5 mg in reducing serum glutamate levels, whereas amitriptyline 12.5 mg was the most effective in reducing headache intensity. There was found nonsignificant, but very weak negative correlation between headache intensity and serum glutamate levels after flunarizine 5 mg administration (r = -0.062; P = 0.385), nonsignificant very weak negative correlation after flunarizine 10 mg administration (r = -0.007; P = 0.488) and there was found a significant moderate positive correlation (r = 0.508; P = 0.007) between headache intensity and serum glutamate levels after amitriptyline 12.5 mg administration.CONCLUSION: Since there was no significant correlation found between serum glutamate and headache intensity after treatment with flunarizine, it is suggested that decreasing of headache intensity after flunarizine treatment occurred not through glutamate pathways in CTTH patients.
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