European Headache Federation (EHF) critical reappraisal and meta-analysis of oral drugs in migraine prevention – part 3: topiramate

Bianca Raffaelli, David García-Azorín, Deirdre M. Boucherie, Faisal Mohammad Amin, Christina I. Deligianni, Raquel Gil-Gouveia, Sarah Kirsh, Christian Lampl, Simona Sacco, Derya Uluduz, Jan Versijpt, Antoinette MaassenVanDenBrink, Dena Zeraatkar, Margarita Sanchez-del-Rio, Uwe Reuter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Topiramate is a repurposed first-line treatment for migraine prophylaxis. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to critically re-appraise the existing evidence supporting the efficacy and tolerability of topiramate. Methods: A systematic search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane CENTRAL, and was performed for trials of pharmacological treatment in migraine prophylaxis as of August 13, 2022, following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA). Randomized controlled trials in adult patients that used topiramate for the prophylactic treatment of migraine, with placebo as active comparator, were included. Two reviewers independently screened the retrieved studies and extracted all data. Outcomes of interest were the 50% responder rates, the reduction in monthly migraine days, and adverse events leading to treatment discontinuation. Results were pooled and meta-analyzed, with sensitivity analysis based on the risk of bias of the studies, the monthly migraine days at baseline, and the previous use of other prophylactic treatments. Certainty evidence was judged according to the GRADE framework. Results: Eight out of 10,826 studies fulfilled the inclusion/exclusion criteria, accounting for 2,610 randomized patients. Six studies included patients with episodic migraine and two with chronic migraine. Topiramate dose ranged from 50 to 200 mg/day, and all studies included a placebo arm. There was a high certainty that topiramate: 1) increased the proportion of patients who achieved a 50% responder rate in monthly migraine days, compared to placebo [relative risk: 1.61 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.29–2.01); absolute risk difference: 168 more per 1,000 (95% CI: 80 to 278 more)]; 2) was associated with 0.99 (95% CI: 1.41–0.58) fewer migraine days than placebo; 3) and had a higher proportion of patients with adverse events leading to treatment discontinuation [absolute risk difference 80 patients more per 1,000 (95% CI: 20 to 140 more patients)]. Conclusions: There is high-quality evidence of the efficacy of topiramate in the prophylaxis of migraine, albeit its use poses a risk of adverse events that may lead to treatment discontinuation, with a negative effect on patient satisfaction and adherence to care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'European Headache Federation (EHF) critical reappraisal and meta-analysis of oral drugs in migraine prevention – part 3: topiramate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this