Efficacy of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers in the Preventative Treatment of Episodic Migraine in Adults

  • T. Dorosch
  • C. A. GanzerEmail author
  • M. Lin
  • A. Seifan
Episodic Migraine (S Nahas, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Episodic Migraine


Purpose of Review

Systematic review of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) in the prophylactic treatment of adults with migraine. To identify gaps in research and provide guidance for future clinical trials.

Recent Findings

A search was completed using PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library January 1, 1990 through December 31, 2017. The following are keywords used in the search: migraine, migraine prophylaxis/prevention, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, RAAS, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors: quinapril, perindopril, ramipril, captopril, enalapril, lisinopril, benazepril, fosinopril. Angiotensin receptor blockers, ARB, angiotensin II receptor antagonists: candesartan cilexetil, irbesartan, olmesartan, valsartan, losartan, azilsartan medoxomil, telmisartan, and eprosartan. The search included randomized controlled trials (RCT), systemic reviews and open-label studies of ACE inhibitors and ARB for the prevention of migraine attacks in adults 18–70 years old. Of 2461 retrieved articles, 18 included RCT, meta-analysis, systemic reviews, or guidelines published on ACE inhibitors or ARB in the prevention of migraine. Three RCT with telmisartan 80 mg, candesartan 16 mg, and enalapril 10 mg, and two open-label trials with lisinopril 5 mg and ramipril 5 mg found a high number of responders with greater than 50 % reduction in migraine attack frequency when compared to a 4-week baseline period. Candesartan was superior to placebo while telmisartan and enalapril were not.


Lipophilic ACE inhibitors and ARBs can be effective prophylactic agents for reduction of migraine frequency in adults. Based on the limited number of published trials and small sample size, they are not recommended as first-line prophylactic agents. However, in populations with co-morbidities such as hypertension, they may be useful as first- or second-line prophylactics. Additional trials following the International Headache Society’s guidelines on RCT are warranted.


Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors Angiotensin receptor blockers Headache Migraine 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Barry UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, School of Health ProfessionsHunter College, CUNYNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Nova SoutheasternFt. LauderdaleUSA
  4. 4.Neuro Well Free©Oakland ParkUSA

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