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How do calcium-channel blockers help prevent migraine?

Calcium-channel blockers are often prescribed for people with high blood pressure or heart disease, as well as for migraine prevention. But these medications work in different ways. Calcium-channel blockers relax muscle cells in blood vessel walls and prevent blood vessel spasm, which is what first prompted scientists to investigate their value for migraine prevention. As it turns out, however, calcium-channel blockers prevent migraine not so much because they increase blood circulation, but because they act directly on nerve cells and thwart inflammation.

Treatment usually begins with a low dose of the most effective one, verapamil (Calan, others), that's increased gradually. Despite their name, calcium-channel blockers don't interfere with the absorption of calcium, nor do they cause calcium loss in the bones.

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