Riboflavin Compared to Propranolol in Migraine Prophylaxis

Ellison, Justin, Lou Mendes-Kramer, and Amy Pew

Migraine is a primary headache disorder that is commonly associated with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.   Migraine is extremely common in America with a one-year prevalence of 11.7%(Lipton et al., 2007).  Migraine is more prevalent in women (17.1%) than in men(5.6%) (Lipton et al., 2007).  "Migraine prophylaxis is aimed at preventing frequent attacks and the development of a long-term condition that often incurs heavy costs for abortive treatment, diagnostic services, and medical care" (Goldberg, 2005).  The purpose of this literature review is to compare the effectiveness of riboflavin at reducing the frequency of migraine attacks with propranolol (Inderal), which is one of the most commonly prescribed and heavily studied migraine prophylaxis drugs available right now.  An in-depth review of the literature was conducted to obtain studies regarding the use of riboflavin for prophylaxis of migraine.For comparison, some studies comparing propranolol to placebo were added to this literature review.  

Because of the limitations of the studies found researching riboflavin, it cannot be clearly determined how riboflavin compares to propranolol in prophylactic treatment.  Further research that compares propranolol and riboflavin in experimental groups, with larger samples, using a random double-blind study design, would be most useful in this determination.