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Medical Therapies for Chronic Post-Traumatic Headaches

Information source: Madigan Army Medical Center
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Headache

Intervention: Placebo (Drug); Propranolol (Drug); Amitriptyline (Drug); Topiramate (Drug)

Phase: Phase 4

Status: Terminated

Sponsored by: Madigan Army Medical Center

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Jay Erickson, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Madigan Army Medical Center


To determine if propranolol, amitriptyline, or topiramate decreases headache frequency in patients with chronic post-traumatic headaches.

Clinical Details

Official title: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Medical Therapies for Chronic Post-Traumatic Headaches

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Headache days per month on the third month of treatment

Detailed description: A total of 240 patients meeting International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) diagnostic criteria for chronic post-traumatic headaches will be enrolled. Subjects will be recruited from the Neurology Clinic at Madigan Army Medical Center. Study participants will be U. S. Army soldiers who sustained a mild traumatic head injury while deployed to a combat theater resulting in chronic post-traumatic headaches. Subjects will be randomized to placebo, propranolol (target dose 80 mg a day), amitriptyline (target dose 50 mg a day), or topiramate (target dose 100 mg a day) for 3 months. The primary outcome measure will be the mean number of headache days per month on the third month of treatment. Secondary outcome measures will include the proportion of subjects with at least a 25% reduction in headache frequency, headache severity (0-10 scale), headache duration (hours), headache-related disability (measured by the Headache Impact Test and Migraine Disability Assessment Scale), PTSD symptom checklist score, and medication side effects and tolerability.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: 50 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion criteria: 1. Patient meets ICHD criteria for chronic post-traumatic headaches (see below). 2. Patient is 18-50 years old. 3. Patient has experienced 6 or more days of headache per month for each of the last 2 months. 4. Patient has full capacity to provide informed consent. 5. Patient will be available for all study-related visits over the next 4 months. 6. Patient must be eligible to receive care at Madigan Army Medical Center International Classification of Headache Disorders (version 2) diagnostic criteria for chronic post-traumatic headaches attributed to mild head injury: 1. Headaches beginning within 1 week of mild traumatic head injury. 2. Headaches persisting > 3 months after head trauma. 3. Head trauma with all of the following:

- no loss of consciousness or loss of consciousness < 30 minutes

- Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) 13-15

- symptoms or signs diagnostic of concussion

Exclusion criteria: 1. Patient has another headache disorder not attributable to head trauma which accounts for at least half of the patient's headache episodes. 2. Patient is currently taking propranolol, amitriptyline, or topiramate for any reason. 3. Patient previously tried propranolol, amitriptyline, or topiramate for headache treatment. 4. Patient started a new treatment for headache prevention within the last 6 weeks. Prophylactic treatments initiated prior to 6 weeks ago are allowed as long as the dose or regimen is stable. Medications for aborting acute headaches are also allowed. 5. Patient previously tried more than two medications for headache prevention. 6. Patient is using narcotic analgesics on average more than 10 days a month. 7. Patient has a medical condition or is taking a medication that is considered a contraindication for propranolol, topiramate, or amitriptyline. Medical conditions include liver disease, renal impairment, cardiac dysrhythmias, untreated thyroid disease, orthostatic hypotension, asthma requiring treatment with inhalers, glaucoma, kidney stones, insulin-requiring diabetes, or pregnancy. 8. Patient has known hepatic, renal, or cardiac disorders. 9. Patient drinks on average more than two servings of alcohol (2 oz hard liquor, 5 oz wine, 12 oz beer) per day or more than 3 servings at one time on a weekly basis. 10. Patient has abnormalities on baseline EKG. 11. Patient has major depression defined as a score >15 on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. 12. Patient is pregnant, planning to become pregnant in the next year, or is a female of reproductive potential who is not using a reliable form of birth control. 13. Patient has cognitive impairment defined as mini-mental status exam score <27. 14. SBP < 90, HR < 50, or HR > 100.

Locations and Contacts

Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington 98431, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: June 2008
Last updated: April 22, 2013

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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